Opinion: Why the NHL should implement a three-point system - The Jewish Voice
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Opinion: Why the NHL should implement a three-point system

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Marvin A Azrak Kevin Durant demonstrated on July 4, 2016, when he left the Thunder to join the rival Warriors, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” That unequivocally is the relationship I have with the NHL points system. While the uniqueness of it is that, unlike the MLB, NFL, and NBA, where you are what your record says you are, hockey hands out a  “Loser point” for losses in extra time. Non-hockey enthusiasts may laud the league to “toughen up,” but the sport is arguably the other three morphed into one, so I’ve been hooked(pun intended) into it ever since. Aside from its trademark speed, hockey also requires the mastery of handling the object from basketball, sizzling shots equal to that of a fastball down the heart of the plate, and the physicality we often see in the game of football. So over the excruciating 82-game campaign, I, too, would try to find ways for a team to take solace out of a devastating overtime/shootout defeat.

  As an avid hockey fan, I couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs, peculiarly after the unprecedented regular season we’ve had out  East where all eight teams reached the century point plateau and the chaos that is the  Western Conference playoff race, which will be decided over the season’s final days. Intrigued, I took a peek at the league’s tie-breaking system but came across a horrific sight that shook me to the syllabus of the hockey fan that lies in me. Instead of head-head or even straight wins where you exclude the overtime point leading the way, it was regulation wins. This meant that a team could have won more games yet had the same amount of points as their counterpart, and due to sporting fewer “RW’s,” they would miss the playoffs or finish lower in the standings. While I’m aware this has been the procedure since 2011, it’s infuriating that we’ve gone more than a decade without the topic of a three-point system circulating within the league.

The next tiebreaker is overtime wins, but I commend the NHL for doing so since it excludes wins via the individual skills competition from the equation, which has been in place since 2006 when ties were mercifully banned from the sport. However, the prospect of a three-point system where a regulation win is worth three, an extra-time win is worth two, and the “loser point” remains a system worth enticing for it creates drama towards 60 minutes when instead of milking the clock in a tie game for a point, teams would have a sense of exigency knowing there’s an incentive up for grabs if they can finish things off here. I’ve taken the liberty of converting the  NHL standings heading into play on  April 27th, 2022, and calculated what effects it would have on the playoff picture should this system be in place.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE: (parenthesis are how many points a  team has today)

 

ATLANTIC DIVISION

TEAM

RW(3)

WINS

L

OTL

PTS

1. Florida Panthers

41

57

17

6

161 (120)

2. Toronto Maple Leafs

44

53

21

7

157(113)

3. Tampa Bay Lightning

38

50

22

8

146(108)

4. Boston Bruins

39

50

25

5

144(105)

5. Buffalo Sabers

25

31

38

11

98(73)

6. Ottawa Senators

25

32

41

7

96(71)

7. Detroit Red Wings

20

31

40

10

92(72)

8. Montreal Canadiens

14

20

49

11

65(51)

 

METROPOLITAN DIVISION

TEAM

RW(3)

WINS

L

OTL

PTS

1. Carolina Hurricanes

46

53

20

8

160(114)

2. New York Rangers

43

51

23

6

151(108)

3. Pittsburgh Penguins

36

45

25

11

137(101)

4. Washington Capitals

35

44

24

12

135(100)

5. New York Islanders

33

36

34

10

115(82)

6. Columbus Blue Jackets

25

36

37

7

104(79)

7. New Jersey Devils

19

27

44

9

82(63)

8. Philadelphia Flyers

20

25

44

11

81(61)

 

CURRENT EAST  PLAYOFF GLANCE:

Florida Panthers vs Washington Capitals(WC2)

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa bay Lightning

Carolina Hurricanes vs Boston Bruins(WC1)

New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins

 

WITH THREE POINT SYSTEM:

Florida Panthers vs Washington Capitals(WC2)

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa bay Lightning

Carolina Hurricanes vs Boston Bruins(WC1)

New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins

 

OBSERVATION:

The East has been historically lopsided this year,that this system would fit right in, and if anything make these races dramatic instead of handing Florida the one seed and Atlantic division title  as is the case today.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE (parenthesis are how many points a  team has today)

 

CENTRAL DIVISION:

TEAM

RW(3)

WINS

L

OTL

PTS

1.Colorado Avalanche

46

56

18

6

164(118)

2. St Louis Blues

43

49

21

11

151(109)

3. Minnesota Wild

36

51

22

7

145(109)

4. Nashville Predators

35

44

29

7

129(95)

5. Dallas Stars

30

45

30

5

125(95)

6. Winnipeg Jets

29

36

32

11

112(83)

7. Chicago Blackhawks

16

27

42

11

81(65)

8. Arizona Coyotes

17

23

50

7

70(53)

 

PACIFIC DIVISION:

TEAM

RW(3)

WINS

L

OTL

PTS

1.Calgary Flames

44

50

20

10

154(110)

2. Edmonton Oilers

38

47

27

6

138(100)

3. Los Angeles Kings

34

43

27

10

130(96)

4. Vegas Golden Knights

33

42

31

7

124(91)

5. Vancouver Canucks

32

39

30

11

121(89)

6. San Jose Sharks

22

32

35

12

98(76)

7. Anaheim Ducks

22

31

36

14

98(76)

8.  Seattle Kraken

22

26

47

6

80(58)

 

CURRENT WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF GLANCE:

Colorado Avalanche vs Dallas Stars(WC2)

ST Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild

Calgary Flames vs Nashville Predators(WC1)

Edmonton Oilers vs Los Angeles Kings

WITH THREE POINT SYSTEM, THESE TEAMS WOULD BE IN THE PLAYOFF HUNT:

Vegas Golden Knights 124 points (Currently trail Stars by four points with two games left.)

Vancouver Canucks 121 points(Currently eliminated)

 

Observation:

While it wouldn’t change much, it would make for fascinating hockey until the last whistle of the regular season on April 29th. This would significantly benefit the Avalanche who would control their Presidents trophy fate, instead of fighting from behind  against Florida.

 

WHY THE NHL SHOULD DO IT:

By this juncture, your thought bubble has extracted the phrase”What difference does it make?”, and my answer to you is that’s exactly why the league should implement it. I understand the traditional system and how it keeps older generations of the game involved, but at the very least the tie-breaking procedure should be changed to reflect what it’s like in basketball and football today. However, since the league has shown no signs of that, this can be something that all hockey fans, players, and owners can comprehend without making things sophisticated as they currently are. Like KD said, “if you can’t beat them, join them”.

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