Points System: Revealing Results

    12

    With Files from Gil Brown

    The current point system is most equitable for playoff races in January and individual franchise marketing, beginning as early as midseason.

    Part of the logic behind Detroit Red Wing’s GM Ken Holland’s proposal, shot down in GM meetings in Naples, Florida in March, to change the season ending tie-breaking measures from Wins, to Regulation Wins is incentive for teams to get the job done in 60-minutes.

    It’s about motivation, from puck drop in October through to April. But the current point system has greater connotations for marketing games, ticket sales and shaping the playoff race, the biggest issues for owners.

    The NHL will not be revisiting the 3-point system any time soon, according to Pierre LeBrun of espn.com, and with reason. Various point systems don’t alter the standings enough to merit change. A three-point system or pre-1999 system without the automatic point awarded to clubs tied at the end of regulation doesn’t provide incentive for the league to implement another point system.

    Overtime was introduced in 1983-84, to motivate teams to go for the win.

    The game needed a jolt, getting it in 1999-2000 by implementing four-on-four overtime with teams having already banked a point for the regulation tie, as enticement to teams to go for the win in overtime.

    Forever known as the ‘loser point’ the logic was to remove the fear of losing a point for tying clubs, instead going for the win, open up and generate offense. This change reflected the ‘dead puck era’ with trapping teams and 1-0 scores. Clubs sat back and played for the tie in an era of defensive dominance.

    In the dead puck era, that may have worked. Sitting on a lead in the post-lockout, revamped NHL, is death. Two and three goal leads can evaporate in a flash.

    Motivation

    Motivation has changed almost 10 years and one lockout later. Teams struggle to hold on to three-goal leads in the third period. The dead puck era is gone, with a new era of increased scoring shifting the purpose of the overtime point, and further solidifying the shootout as an NHL mainstay.

    Point systems aren’t just a final tally to distinguish playoff seeds and golfers. It’s clear with Holland’s proposal that the NHL is looking at the psychological component for temptation to play for regulation wins.

    Motivation is key, not changes to the point system.

    The ‘loser point’ doesn’t motivate. Teams will still play for the extra point. Give teams options and they will use every able loophole for their own benefit.

    It’s similar to the relationship between developers and hackers; developers will find ways to make systems safer, but hackers will eventually find a way to break through.

    Just like Brian Burke did, bending the rules to ‘acquire’ a 4th round pick from the Bolts at the trade deadline.

    The Standings Program

    I’ve already introduced the program here. Was the playoff race a byproduct of the NHL’s current system, beginning in earnest from January?

    Giving it credence, the program was rigged to calculate the standings with the old point system (pre-loser point – tie after overtime, both teams with 1 pt) and with a three-point system (3 pts for a Regulation Win, 2 pts for an overtime/shootout Win, and 1 point for an OT/SO loss).

    Tested with stats from various seasons, 2007-08 was used as the prime statistical example; specific dates illustrated day-to-day changes using every point system. Most results mirror the current point system.

    Dates (2007-08 season):
    Jan 10 - about the 41-game mark for the entire league
    Jan 24 – about a month before the trade deadline
    Feb 26 – the trade deadline
    Mar 30 – approximately 2 weeks in the season and then the final results.

    JAN10

    Current

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Ottawa Senators 42 60 Detroit Red Wings 45 70
    New Jersey Devils 43 53 Dallas Stars 46 54
    Carolina Hurricanes 46 48 Vancouver Canucks 43 52
    Pittsburgh Penguins 43 52 San Jose Sharks 42 54
    Montreal Canadiens 43 52 Anaheim Ducks 46 52
    Philadelphia Flyers 41 48 Calgary Flames 44 51
    Boston Bruins 43 46 Minnesota Wild 43 50
    New York Rangers 44 45 St. Louis Blues 41 49
    New York Islanders 42 45 Colorado Avalanche 43 47
    Atlanta Thrashers 45 44 Phoenix Coyotes 42 45
    Florida Panthers 44 43 Nashville Predators 42 44
    Buffalo Sabres 42 43 Edmonton Oilers 45 44
    Washington Capitals 43 41 Columbus Blue Jackets 43 44
    Toronto Maple Leafs 44 40 Chicago Blackhawks 43 42
    Tampa Bay Lightning 44 37 Los Angeles Kings 45 34

    Old

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Ottawa Senators 42 56 Detroit Red Wings 45 66
    New Jersey Devils 43 48 San Jose Sharks 42 52
    Carolina Hurricanes 46 46 Vancouver Canucks 43 48
    Philadelphia Flyers 41 47 St. Louis Blues 41 48
    Montreal Canadiens 43 47 Calgary Flames 44 48
    Pittsburgh Penguins 43 45 Minnesota Wild 43 47
    Boston Bruins 43 44 Dallas Stars 46 47
    New York Islanders 42 40 Anaheim Ducks 46 46
    Buffalo Sabres 42 39 Colorado Avalanche 43 42
    New York Rangers 44 39 Columbus Blue Jackets 43 42
    Washington Capitals 43 38 Nashville Predators 42 41
    Florida Panthers 44 38 Phoenix Coyotes 42 40
    Toronto Maple Leafs 44 37 Chicago Blackhawks 43 39
    Tampa Bay Lightning 44 35 Edmonton Oilers 45 32
    Atlanta Thrashers 45 35 Los Angeles Kings 45 30

    3-Pts

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Ottawa Senators 42 84 Detroit Red Wings 45 99
    Pittsburgh Penguins 43 70 San Jose Sharks 42 76
    Carolina Hurricanes 46 68 Vancouver Canucks 43 72
    New Jersey Devils 43 73 Dallas Stars 46 72
    Philadelphia Flyers 41 69 Minnesota Wild 43 71
    Montreal Canadiens 43 69 St. Louis Blues 41 70
    Boston Bruins 43 65 Calgary Flames 44 70
    New York Islanders 42 60 Anaheim Ducks 46 69
    New York Rangers 44 59 Colorado Avalanche 43 64
    Florida Panthers 44 58 Nashville Predators 42 62
    Buffalo Sabres 42 58 Phoenix Coyotes 42 62
    Washington Capitals 43 56 Columbus Blue Jackets 43 61
    Atlanta Thrashers 45 56 Chicago Blackhawks 43 58
    Toronto Maple Leafs 44 53 Edmonton Oilers 45 52
    Tampa Bay Lightning 44 51 Los Angeles Kings 45 46

    NFL playoffs are in full swing, and the average NFL fan is immersed in postseason mentality. The NHL enters the dog days of the schedule, with teams playing out games and looking forward to the All-Star Break.

    Current system — January 10 – about the midway point of the season – indicated that a playoff spot is within all clubs reach with 10 teams in the East fighting it out, and another 12 in the West.

    The Oilers were five points out of a playoff spot halfway through the season. In the East, the Atlanta Thrashers are one point out of a playoff spot. One point. One singular point.

    From this snapshot, it looks like the current system favors a playoff race at midseason, allowing individual franchises to market games with a playoff implications.

    Taking ‘loser points’ out of consideration using the OLD system, the Thrashers and Oilers both drop to the bottom of the Conference standings. The Oilers sat second last in the conference, with a playoff spot slipping away in the the OLD (14 pts – seven games). Atlanta slips to dead last in the conference, but only five points out of a spot (three wins). The East follows 14 teams still in the hunt. The West, 10 teams within an eight-point gap.

    In the 3-PT system, the Oilers scramble just to stay in the playoff hunt, 17 pts behind – five wins and overtime loss, while Atlanta clings to a four-point gap for the final playoff spot. Twelve teams are contention for five playoff spots in the East, and 11 in the West cling to six playoff spots.

    JAN24

    Current

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Ottawa Senators 50 66 Detroit Red Wings 51 78
    New Jersey Devils 49 59 Dallas Stars 53 61
    Carolina Hurricanes 52 52 Minnesota Wild 50 59
    Montreal Canadiens 49 60 San Jose Sharks 49 61
    Philadelphia Flyers 48 59 Anaheim Ducks 53 60
    Pittsburgh Penguins 49 58 Calgary Flames 50 58
    Boston Bruins 49 55 Vancouver Canucks 50 57
    New York Rangers 51 54 Colorado Avalanche 50 56
    New York Islanders 50 54 Columbus Blue Jackets 51 56
    Washington Capitals 50 51 Nashville Predators 50 55
    Atlanta Thrashers 52 50 Phoenix Coyotes 49 54
    Florida Panthers 51 49 Edmonton Oilers 52 51
    Buffalo Sabres 48 48 St. Louis Blues 48 51
    Toronto Maple Leafs 51 48 Chicago Blackhawks 50 50
    Tampa Bay Lightning 50 45 Los Angeles Kings 51 42

    Old

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Ottawa Senators 50 62 Detroit Red Wings 51 73
    Philadelphia Flyers 48 58 San Jose Sharks 49 59
    Carolina Hurricanes 52 49 Minnesota Wild 50 56
    Montreal Canadiens 49 54 Calgary Flames 50 54
    New Jersey Devils 49 53 Dallas Stars 53 54
    Boston Bruins 49 51 Columbus Blue Jackets 51 53
    Pittsburgh Penguins 49 51 Anaheim Ducks 53 53
    New York Islanders 50 48 Nashville Predators 50 52
    New York Rangers 51 47 Vancouver Canucks 50 51
    Washington Capitals 50 46 St. Louis Blues 48 50
    Florida Panthers 51 44 Colorado Avalanche 50 50
    Buffalo Sabres 48 44 Phoenix Coyotes 49 48
    Toronto Maple Leafs 51 44 Chicago Blackhawks 50 44
    Tampa Bay Lightning 50 43 Edmonton Oilers 52 38
    Atlanta Thrashers 52 40 Los Angeles Kings 51 37

    3-Pts

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Ottawa Senators 50 93 Detroit Red Wings 51 110
    Philadelphia Flyers 48 85 San Jose Sharks 49 86
    Carolina Hurricanes 52 73 Minnesota Wild 50 84
    Montreal Canadiens 49 80 Dallas Stars 53 82
    New Jersey Devils 49 78 Anaheim Ducks 53 80
    Pittsburgh Penguins 49 78 Calgary Flames 50 79
    Boston Bruins 49 76 Columbus Blue Jackets 51 78
    New York Islanders 50 72 Nashville Predators 50 77
    New York Rangers 51 71 Vancouver Canucks 50 77
    Washington Capitals 50 70 Colorado Avalanche 50 76
    Florida Panthers 51 66 Phoenix Coyotes 49 74
    Buffalo Sabres 48 65 St. Louis Blues 48 72
    Toronto Maple Leafs 51 64 Chicago Blackhawks 50 67
    Tampa Bay Lightning 50 63 Edmonton Oilers 52 61
    Atlanta Thrashers 52 63 Los Angeles Kings 51 57


    Forward to about a month before the trade deadline and the snapshot is just as close in the current system. Atlanta is four points shy of the final playoff spot, with 10 teams seperated by 12 points in the hunt in the East. Edmonton slips to five points out of a playoff spot, and 10 teams realistically compete for a shot at the postseason.

    In the OLD and 3-PT systems, they’re featured at the bottom in both respective Conferences. The gap widens to eight for Atlanta (four wins) and 14 for Edmonton (seven wins) in the OLD system. There are 10 teams seperated by a 10-point gap for a playoff spot in the East, while the gap widens to 11 in the West, cut off right before the Oilers in 13th spot.

    Atlanta is nine points (three wins) out of a playoff spot with a 3-PT system, and Edmonton has a whopping 16-point (5 wins and overtime loss) difference.

    It seems like the playoffs are a pipe dream for some Conference bottom feeders in the OLD and 3-PT system. What is the incentive to ice a competitive team other than pride? Wouldn’t a better draft choice be the goal, rather than a playoff spot? Isn’t that what Toronto’s Tank Nation purports to be the best way to build a team?

    Pure hockey enthusiasts would undoubtedly scream, yes!

    NHL ownership, however, would not.

    Draft choices don’t generate revenue; playoff gates, do. The incentive isn’t on the hockey operation, doing what’s best for the team. Rather, it’s an owner-initiated quandry to make a run for the postseason. For NHL ownership, both the OLD and 3-PT systems do not offer gate revenue. It doesn’t even promote regular season game attendance incentives. Marketing shifts focus to the upcoming season, not the postseason. These point systems take revenue in the form of playoffs implications marketing.

    The Super Bowl is right around the corner and die-hard NFL fans are in the spirit. Using the current system, NHL franchises can capture that essence and run with it.

    FEB26

    Current

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    New Jersey Devils 64 80 Detroit Red Wings 65 90
    Ottawa Senators 64 78 Dallas Stars 67 85
    Carolina Hurricanes 66 71 Calgary Flames 64 75
    Pittsburgh Penguins 64 79 Anaheim Ducks 66 79
    Montreal Canadiens 64 77 San Jose Sharks 62 74
    Boston Bruins 62 72 Minnesota Wild 63 73
    New York Rangers 64 72 Vancouver Canucks 62 72
    Philadelphia Flyers 63 69 Nashville Predators 64 72
    Buffalo Sabres 63 69 Colorado Avalanche 64 70
    New York Islanders 64 67 Phoenix Coyotes 63 69
    Washington Capitals 64 66 Columbus Blue Jackets 64 67
    Florida Panthers 65 63 St. Louis Blues 63 66
    Toronto Maple Leafs 64 63 Chicago Blackhawks 62 64
    Atlanta Thrashers 64 62 Edmonton Oilers 64 63
    Tampa Bay Lightning 62 57 Los Angeles Kings 64 56

    Old

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Ottawa Senators 64 72 Detroit Red Wings 65 84
    Pittsburgh Penguins 64 72 Dallas Stars 67 77
    Carolina Hurricanes 66 66 Calgary Flames 64 69
    New Jersey Devils 64 71 Anaheim Ducks 66 70
    Montreal Canadiens 64 69 San Jose Sharks 62 69
    Philadelphia Flyers 63 66 Nashville Predators 64 67
    Boston Bruins 62 65 Minnesota Wild 63 66
    New York Rangers 64 65 St. Louis Blues 63 64
    Washington Capitals 63 65 Columbus Blue Jackets 64 63
    Buffalo Sabres 64 63 Vancouver Canucks 62 63
    New York Islanders 64 60 Phoenix Coyotes 63 62
    Toronto Maple Leafs 64 57 Colorado Avalanche 64 62
    Florida Panthers 65 56 Chicago Blackhawks 62 57
    Tampa Bay Lightning 62 54 Los Angeles Kings 64 50
    Atlanta Thrashers 64 48 Edmonton Oilers 64 49

    3-Pts

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Ottawa Senators 64 108 Detroit Red Wings 65 126
    Pittsburgh Penguins 64 108 Dallas Stars 67 117
    Carolina Hurricanes 66 99 Calgary Flames 64 102
    New Jersey Devils 64 108 Anaheim Ducks 66 106
    Montreal Canadiens 64 103 San Jose Sharks 62 102
    Boston Bruins 62 99 Minnesota Wild 63 100
    Philadelphia Flyers 63 97 Nashville Predators 64 99
    New York Rangers 64 97 Vancouver Canucks 62 95
    Washington Capitals 64 96 Phoenix Coyotes 63 94
    Buffalo Sabres 63 93 Colorado Avalanche 64 94
    New York Islanders 64 90 St. Louis Blues 63 92
    Florida Panthers 65 84 Columbus Blue Jackets 64 92
    Toronto Maple Leafs 64 84 Chicago Blackhawks 62 86
    Tampa Bay Lightning 62 79 Edmonton Oilers 64 78
    Atlanta Thrashers 64 77 Los Angeles Kings 64 76

    The NHL Trade Deadline 2008.

    Realistically, both Atlanta and Edmonton are in a legitimate position to compete for a playoff spot in the current system by the Trade Deadline. Seven points separate the Thrashers from the Flyers in the East, while a nine point difference seperates the Oilers from the Predators sitting in eighth spot.

    It’s a nice tight race, precisely what the NHL wants, healthy franchises all making runs for postseason appearances.

    Marketing games for playoff implications hits full scale, with the media frenzy created by the deadline. The current point system comes under scrutiny for shootout and overtime losses and too many three-point games skewing the playoff picture down the stretch through March/April. Clubs jockey for position while the gap in both Conferences reduces (EAST: 9 teams vying for three playoff spots within 10 pts; WEST: 10 teams fight for four playoff spots with a 10-point gap.)

    Both the Oilers and Atlanta are pretty much toast for a playoff spot in the OLD system, sitting at the bottom of the Conference standings. The playoff gap shortens with six teams competing for four spots in the East and a wild, wide open West, where anything can happen and 10 teams cling to hope for six playoff spots.

    In the 3-pt system, six teams in the East compete for three playoff spots and eight compete in the West to occupy four playoff spots. Both the Oilers and Thrashers are out of the running.

    About six weeks are left in the season. The playoff race has officially begun, and the three point games down the stretch will make it more difficult for teams to find tread and drive for the postseason.

    Mar30

    Current

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Pittsburgh Penguins 79 99 Detroit Red Wings 79 111
    Montreal Canadiens 79 98 San Jose Sharks 79 106
    Carolina Hurricanes 79 90 Minnesota Wild 80 95
    New Jersey Devils 78 93 Anaheim Ducks 80 98
    Ottawa Senators 79 92 Dallas Stars 79 93
    New York Rangers 78 91 Colorado Avalanche 80 91
    Philadelphia Flyers 79 91 Calgary Flames 79 90
    Boston Bruins 79 91 Vancouver Canucks 79 88
    Washington Capitals 79 88 Nashville Predators 79 87
    Buffalo Sabres 79 86 Edmonton Oilers 80 86
    Toronto Maple Leafs 79 82 Chicago Blackhawks 79 84
    Florida Panthers 79 81 Phoenix Coyotes 79 80
    New York Islanders 79 76 Columbus Blue Jackets 79 80
    Atlanta Thrashers 79 72 St. Louis Blues 78 74
    Tampa Bay Lightning 78 71 Los Angeles Kings 79 69

    Old

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Pittsburgh Penguins 79 91 Detroit Red Wings 79 104
    Montreal Canadiens 79 88 San Jose Sharks 79 97
    Carolina Hurricanes 79 83 Minnesota Wild 80 86
    Ottawa Senators 79 86 Anaheim Ducks 80 87
    Philadelphia Flyers 79 85 Dallas Stars 79 85
    Boston Bruins 79 82 Calgary Flames 79 84
    New Jersey Devils 78 81 Colorado Avalanche 80 81
    New York Rangers 78 80 Nashville Predators 79 80
    Buffalo Sabres 79 78 Vancouver Canucks 79 78
    Washington Capitals 79 77 Chicago Blackhawks 79 75
    Toronto Maple Leafs 79 74 Columbus Blue Jackets 79 75
    Florida Panthers 79 72 Phoenix Coyotes 79 71
    New York Islanders 79 67 St. Louis Blues 78 70
    Tampa Bay Lightning 78 67 Edmonton Oilers 80 67
    Atlanta Thrashers 79 57 Los Angeles Kings 79 62

    3-Pts

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Pittsburgh Penguins 79 137 Detroit Red Wings 79 156
    Montreal Canadiens 79 132 San Jose Sharks 79 145
    Carolina Hurricanes 79 125 Minnesota Wild 80 129
    Ottawa Senators 79 128 Anaheim Ducks 80 132
    Philadelphia Flyers 79 125 Dallas Stars 79 128
    New Jersey Devils 78 124 Calgary Flames 79 124
    Boston Bruins 79 122 Colorado Avalanche 80 123
    New York Rangers 78 120 Nashville Predators 79 119
    Washington Capitals 79 117 Vancouver Canucks 79 117
    Buffalo Sabres 79 115 Chicago Blackhawks 79 115
    Toronto Maple Leafs 79 110 Columbus Blue Jackets 79 109
    Florida Panthers 79 108 Phoenix Coyotes 79 108
    New York Islanders 79 101 Edmonton Oilers 80 107
    Tampa Bay Lightning 78 98 St. Louis Blues 78 101
    Atlanta Thrashers 79 89 Los Angeles Kings 79 93

    Days before the season finale and the race is still close for the Oilers, only two points out of a playoff spot using the current system. Meanwhile, the Thrashers have been eliminated with less than a handful of games left. Washington and Carolina are in a dogfight for the top of the conference, the only way the Capitals can salvage a playoff spot, while the West has a Nashville/Vancouver battle going on with the Oilers.

    Edmonton is officially eliminated in the following game. The race is over, with only a few games left in the season.

    In the OLD and 3-PT systems, both the Thrashers and Oilers have long been eliminated, with the Predators and Canucks fighting it out. The Flames sit only two points behind the WIld for top of the division and a better seeding, that would eventually have them squaring off in the postseason under alternative systems.

    The Capitals sit two points (1 win) away from a playoff spot in the OLD system and three points away (1 win) in a 3-PT system, but have no shot at the top of the division. This discrepancy is carried forward into the final season standings below.

    FINAL

    Current

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Montreal Canadiens 82 104 Detroit Red Wings 82 115
    Pittsburgh Penguins 82 102 San Jose Sharks 82 108
    Washington Capitals 82 94 Minnesota Wild 82 98
    New Jersey Devils 82 99 Anaheim Ducks 82 102
    New York Rangers 82 97 Dallas Stars 82 97
    Philadelphia Flyers 82 95 Colorado Avalanche 82 95
    Ottawa Senators 82 94 Calgary Flames 82 94
    Boston Bruins 82 94 Nashville Predators 82 91
    Carolina Hurricanes 82 92 Edmonton Oilers 82 88
    Buffalo Sabres 82 90 Chicago Blackhawks 82 88
    Florida Panthers 82 85 Vancouver Canucks 82 88
    Toronto Maple Leafs 82 83 Phoenix Coyotes 82 83
    New York Islanders 82 79 Columbus Blue Jackets 82 80
    Atlanta Thrashers 82 76 St. Louis Blues 82 79
    Tampa Bay Lightning 82 71 Los Angeles Kings 82 71

    Old

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Pittsburgh Penguins 82 94 Detroit Red Wings 82 108
    Montreal Canadiens 82 94 San Jose Sharks 82 99
    Carolina Hurricanes 82 85 Minnesota Wild 82 89
    Philadelphia Flyers 82 89 Anaheim Ducks 82 90
    Ottawa Senators 82 88 Dallas Stars 82 89
    Boston Bruins 82 85 Calgary Flames 82 88
    New York Rangers 82 85 Colorado Avalanche 82 84
    New Jersey Devils 82 84 Nashville Predators 82 83
    Washington Capitals 82 83 Chicago Blackhawks 82 79
    Buffalo Sabres 82 81 Vancouver Canucks 82 78
    Florida Panthers 82 76 Columbus Blue Jackets 82 75
    Toronto Maple Leafs 82 75 St. Louis Blues 82 75
    New York Islanders 82 69 Phoenix Coyotes 82 74
    Tampa Bay Lightning 82 67 Edmonton Oilers 82 69
    Atlanta Thrashers 82 61 Los Angeles Kings 82 64

    3-Pts

    EAST GP Pts WEST GP Pts
    Pittsburgh Penguins 82 141 Detroit Red Wings 82 162
    Montreal Canadiens 82 141 San Jose Sharks 82 148
    Carolina Hurricanes 82 128 Minnesota Wild 82 133
    Ottawa Senators 82 131 Anaheim Ducks 82 137
    Philadelphia Flyers 82 131 Dallas Stars 82 134
    New Jersey Devils 82 130 Calgary Flames 82 130
    New York Rangers 82 127 Colorado Avalanche 82 128
    Washington Capitals 82 126 Nashville Predators 82 124
    Boston Bruins 82 126 Vancouver Canucks 82 117
    Buffalo Sabres 82 120 Chicago Blackhawks 82 119
    Florida Panthers 82 114 Columbus Blue Jackets 82 109
    Toronto Maple Leafs 82 111 Phoenix Coyotes 82 112
    New York Islanders 82 104 Edmonton Oilers 82 110
    Tampa Bay Lightning 82 98 St. Louis Blues 82 108
    Atlanta Thrashers 82 95 Los Angeles Kings 82 96

    Other segments of the standings are similar to the original results from last season, with other minor discrepancies.

    Pittsburgh and Montreal invoke tie-breaking measures – what Ken Holland tried to change at GM meetings in Naples, Florida – in both systems. In the 3-PT system, both sit tied with 141 points, but Pittsburgh gets the nod with 39 regulation wins over Montreal’s 37. In the old system, they tie with 94 (Pittsburgh still gets first place seeding by virtue of Wins.

    Look at the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes! Both make postseason appearances in the 3-PT system (with the Bruins on the outside looking in) and Washington misses the postseason using the old system, with 83 points (Bruins make it), two less than Carolina’s 85 for third place (divisional ranking leaders) and one point shy of the New Jersey Devils holding down the last playoff spot with 84 points.

    Atlanta eventually finished in 14th place with 76 points in the current system, with Tampa Bay finishing in last with 71 points. The Bolts sat in last place in the final standings, yet the Thrashers in the 3-PT and Old system, finish in last place, behind the Lightning.

    *********
    Math doesn’t explain the psychological component, which is really the issue. Would teams have been motivated to play out 2007-08 schedule in another fashion if the point system was different?

    These snapshots provide results for games played using the current point system results as a base line. How would the standings have looked if played under the different point systems?

    Do teams still play for a loser point in a 3pt system? Do they go for the all-out win? Is parity really that much of an issue considering the state of some teams? Will they try to win games in regulation, or play ‘not to lose’ in the third period?

    This system offers owners close playoff races to promote the importance of games, especially from the All-Star Break onward. It seems to be the most generous and beneficial to the overall NHL, and will remain because of that .. don’t expect the loser point or the shootout to go away any time soon.

    Does the loser point give teams in playoff races enough incentive to stay in games where they are, say 3 goals behind entering the third period?

    What Holland wanted to draw upon is what we will focus our energy on next.

    What/where is the motivation?
    [email protected]