From fourth place Chicago to eleventh place Nashville, there’s a difference of five points. That’s one hell of a finish.
Imagine the tie-breaker scenario between eighth and ninth place. First of course is wins, and then… well, hold on.
Points will always be the most important number at the end of the season, that’s a given.
However, with any game that goes to OT, one team will get two points, while the other will get one, regardless of how the game plays out. This will create more parity in the standings.
What if say, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Minnesota end up with the same amount of points at the end of the season?
The first tie-breaker is now Regulation / Overtime wins, or as the NHL calls it “ROW“. Get used to it, because it’s the first tie-breaker to determine who gets into the playoffs this year.
“ROWs” are victories that are earned in regulation OR overtime. Victories that are earned in the shootout are not counted in this number. If any of these teams have the same number of points come the end of the season, the first tie-breaker will be ROW, or the number that’s circled in red.
Let’s take today’s standings from the West. Here, we have the 7-8-9 teams, and you’ll see that although Minnesota is two points out, they have a leg up on their opponents with 33 victories coming by way of regulation or overtime. Phoenix and Los Angeles have only 30. Should all three teams finish with the same amount of points, the team with the most regulation/overtime victories would get the higher seed. In this circumstance, it’s quite possible that a team with more ‘actual victories’ could get left out of the post season because they have less ROWs.
Standings with this many caveats tend to shy away casual fans of the game. Explain the ROW concept to someone who’s just getting into hockey. It’s going to take more than two sentences to get through.
WHICH BRINGS US TO SHOOTOUTS
Can we get rid of the shootout yet? It’s been checkered part of the league since the lockout ended. The Flyers got into last year’s playoffs on a shootout victory. Now, the league has put less of a value on a shootout victory by creating the “ROW” column. Would anybody lose sleep if we scrapped shootouts and shootout victories and ROWs, and the league reverted back to ties?
2 points for a victory. 1 for a tie. Zero points for a loss. It’s really not so bad.
I hate shootouts. It’s an unnecessary part of the game that sells the audience on the premise that SOMEONE HAS TO WIN each and every game. And really, when you play 82 regular season games, someone doesn’t have to win each and every game. There’s nothing wrong with a 0-0 goalie duel, or a 5-5 high scoring affair. Split the two points and move on, guys. There’s only 81 more games left in the season.
No, that’s way too simple. We’ve got games that end in two points, and we’ve got games that can end in three points. Now, we’ve got a standings system that puts a different value on different kinds of wins.
Surely, this makes perfect sense.
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