Sunday, February 7, 2016

NHL to confirm rule change

Here's why the NHL's newest rule change will produce exactly zero change on the shootout's impact in the standings.

NHL to confirm rule change

Flyers winger Glaude Giroux scores during a shootout against the Bruins on October 22. (AP file photo / Michael Perez)
Flyers winger Glaude Giroux scores during a shootout against the Bruins on October 22. (AP file photo / Michael Perez)

On Sept. 14, the NHL’s Board of Governors is expected to approve a rule change to supposedly minimize the shootout’s impact on standings, according to’s EJ Hradek.

Just like the rule change that was approved in June regarding shots to the head, this proposed change is more talk and less actual change.

Columbus GM Scott Howson proposed this change last March, which would change the first tiebreaker from total wins to just regulation and overtime wins - with the exclusion of shootout wins.

However, as long as shootouts factor in the computation of points, excluding them from the tiebreaker will have little impact on the overall standings.

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The NHL is still the only professional sports league that rewards teams with points in the standings for losing a game - whether it’s in overtime or in the shootout.

There was only one tie in points in the standings last season that had an impact on playoff seeding, when the Flyers tied Montreal with 88 points. The Flyers won the tiebreaker with two more wins than the Canadiens.

In Hradek’s report, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland was quoted as saying that this rule would put more of an emphasis on the “60 [or 65] minutes” of the team game, which includes overtime.

That's not true. The points system still rewards teams that excel in the shootout.

Even if this first tiebreaker was enacted last season, the standings in the Eastern Conference would not have changed at all - and would not have impacted either of the two ties in the standings.

Actual 2009-10 standings:                      Standings w/ new rule:

1. Washington 54-15-13 (121 points)       1. Washington 54-15-13 (121 points)
2. New Jersey 48-27-7 (103 points)          2. New Jersey 48-27-7 (103 points)
3. Buffalo 45-27-10 (100 points)              3. Buffalo 45-27-10 (100 points)
4. Pittsburgh 47-28-7 (101 points)            4. Pittsburgh 47-28-7 (101 points)
5. Ottawa 44-32-6 (94 points)                   5. Ottawa 44-32-6 (94 points)
6. Boston 39-30-13 (91 points)                 6. Boston 39-30-13 (91 points)
7. Philadelphia 41-35-6 (88 points)        *7. Philadelphia 37-32-3 (w/ no SO)
8. Montreal 39-33-10 (88 points)            *8. Montreal 32-28-5 (w/ no SO)
---                                                              ----
9. NY Rangers 38-33-11 (87 points)         9. NY Rangers 38-33-11 (87 points
10. Atlanta 35-34-13 (83 points)              10. Atlanta 35-34-13 (83 points)
11. Carolina 35-37-10 (80 points)           *11. Carolina 31-32-5 (w/ no SO)
12. Tampa Bay 34-36-12 (80 points)      *12. Tampa Bay 30-29-5 (w/ no SO)
13. NY Islanders 34-37-11 (79 points)     13. NY Islanders 34-37-11 (79 points
14. Florida 32-37-13 (77 points)              14. Florida 32-37-13 (77 points)
15. Toronto 30-38-14 (74 points)             15. Toronto 30-38-14 (74 points)
                                                                *-indicates tie in points

This confirmation comes on the heels of the NHL’s first Research and Development camp last week, which was headed by former star Brendan Shanahan who works with the league as VP of Hockey and Business Development.

One of the rules proposed and researched at the event - which this writer is in favor of - includes lengthening overtime to drop from 4-on-4 after three minutes to 3-on-3 and eventually 2-on-2 if no winner is determined to try and limit shootout savvy teams from stalling in OT to jump to the shootout.

The only way to limit the shootout’s impact is to not have it in the game at all.

Check out last year’s standings without the shootout involved. The top teams are still the top teams. The points aren't a full representation because teams that went to more shootouts had those games (and opportunity for more points) totally removed from the standings. For example, 19 of Boston's games went to a shootout.

Last year, a record 184 games went to the shootout, as the Columbus Dispatch reported. That's 15-percent of all games!

It would be interesting to see how some of these teams finished over a full 82 games.

Last year's standings without shootouts, with team’s actual final standing in parenthesis:
1. Washington 49-9-7 - 105 points (-16 points)
2. New Jersey 42-22-2 - 86 points (-17 points)
3. Buffalo 41-21-4 - 86 points (-14 points)
4. Pittsburgh 39-26-5 - 83 points (-18 points)
5. Ottawa 39-27-1 - 79 points) (-15 points)
6. Philadelphia (7th) 37-32-3 - 77 points (-11 points)
7. NY Rangers (9th) 35-29-7 - 77 points (-10 points)
8. Atlanta 31-28-7 (10th) - 69 points (-14 points)
9. Montreal (8th) 32-28-5 - 67 points (-21 points)
10. Carolina (11th) 31-32-5 - 67 points (-13 points)
11. Tampa Bay (12th) 30-29-5 - 65 points (-15 points)
12. Boston (6th) 29-21-4 - 62 points (-29 points)
13. Toronto (15th) 26-34-10 - 62 points (-12 points)
14. NY Islanders (13th) 26-31-5 - 57 points (-22 points)
15. Florida (14th) 26-27-3 - 55 points (-22 points)

How would you handle the shootout? I'm interested in your take. Would you re-institute ties?

The Flyers open training camp on Sept. 17 and the regular season on Oct. 7 when they open Pittsburgh’s new Consol Energy Center. They will raise their 2009-10 Eastern Conference champions banner at their home opener on Oct. 11.

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