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Your New NHL Standings

Thanks to Chris for emailing me an article suggestion this time - in light of this morning's story (courtesy of Off Wing Opinion) that the NHL is considering a revision to the points system (awarding 3 points for a regulation time victory, and only 2 for a SO or OT win). While constant tinkering with the rules is something I find annoying, and the addition of another column to the NHL standings would make them even messier than they already are, this may not be such a bad idea. Far too often in the third period, teams which are tied have little incentive to try and win the game, at the risk of giving up a late goal and walking away with zero points. Too many coaches consider it better to play conservatively and wait for overtime, where chances can be taken more freely. I'm not blaming the coaches here - their job is to earn points in the standings, and given the current setup, boring 3rd periods can be the result of proper risk/reward analysis.

So what would the standings look like if there were an extra point at stake during regulation? With that much more reward available, we'd certainly see some different behavior in various games, but just looking at this season so far, here's how the New And Improved NHL Standings would shape up (New Pts = 3*Reg W + 2*OT W + 1*OT L):

Somewhat surprisingly, we really don't see too much change in today's standings as a result of awarding the additional point for a regulation win. San Jose, which was the last team in the NHL team to even go to the shootout this season, leaps ahead of Anaheim in the Pacific division, and Edmonton jumps ahead of Minnesota into the 8th playoff spot, but outside of that, we don't see any wholesale reordering of the divisions or conferences. What this analysis leaves out, obviously, is how the 3rd period of different games would have played out with the additional point on the line. Personally, I think it's an idea worth looking at further. We'll see what happens in the months ahead...

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