Now That Everyone Has Caught Up, This Blog Is Probably Not Relevant Anymore, Unless You Like Absurdly Long Entry Titles
There are few things I like better than feeling smug and superior. So it brings me great pleasure to direct you over to this post by Caps Nut (who, incidentally, is doing the Lord's work when it comes to arguing against fighting in the NHL). In it, he discusses the various ramifications of the NHL's current system of awarding standings points. He discusses point inflation, record inflation, and the diminishing significance of the above-.500 record. For some reason, it all sounds vaguely familiar. Almost as though someone else I know was talking about the same thing all the way back in January... Oh wait, here it is. Also, here. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Smug superiority intended solely for comedic effect.)
Given that the topic is suddenly relevant again, I decided to revisit the revised standings I put together back in January. Like I did then, I've taken a look at each Eastern Conference team's record, and adjusted it by taking away shootout wins (converted to ties) and overtime losses (converted to regulation losses). The results this time around are even more dramatic, no doubt owing to the larger sample size. Check it out (in newfangled Google Spreadsheet form!).
The real standings have seven teams within six points of each other fighting for the final two playoff spots, whereas the adjusted standings have six teams within seven points duking it out. Seems like that race is tighter than it would have been. However, as Caps Nut so wisely pointed out, the difference in points is a much bigger gap when the teams you're chasing can earn points without ever winning a game.
So, thanks to Gary Bettman, instead of the defending Stanley Cup champs trying to hold off the upstart Thrashers in the Southeast division, you've got the Hurricanes languishing in 11th place and in danger of missing the playoffs altogether. Instead of a down-to-the-wire race for the Northeast Division crown (as well as the top spot overall) between Buffalo and Ottawa, you've got the Sabres running away with it. Instead of the stupid f'ing Panthers, one of the hottest teams in the league, making a valiant run at the final playoff spot, you've got them virtually eliminated and coasting through meaningless games like last night.
But at least the New York Rangers get to sneak into the playoffs. Hockey fans everywhere are rejoicing over that one. Yup, this whole shootout thing makes everything waaaay more exciting.