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NHL Point System, The Loser Point



blog-0977380001334176849.jpgTonight begins the best playoffs in all of sports. Even the though the Sabres are not part of the tourney, I'm still excited. Anyways I stated in the last blog that I was going to focus on some league issues. Today I am going to start with the point system the NHL has in place, specifically the "loser point".

For winning a hockey game via regulation, overtime, or shootout a team is awarded two points in the standings and loser gets zero unless the loss comes in OT or a shootout, in which they would receive one point. I know that what I just said is obvious. However read it again and think of the logic. How can winning in regulation be a two point game, but past regulation is a three point game? I don't know if it's just me, but the majority of games went past regulation down the stretch. If the game was tied after two you could almost bank on the game going to extra time.

This season 300 games went to overtime or a shootout in 2012, 297 in 2011, and 301 in 2010. So in other words 300 points a season are handed out to teams that lost a game (10 points per team). In 2010 184 games went to a shootout, 144 in 2011, and 181 in 2012. Now before I tell you where I'm going with these numbers let me preface it with this: I think that winning a game in regulation AND overtime the winning team should be awarded 3 points. If the game gets to a shootout then the game is basically a tie and it goes to a skills contest. In this case the winner gets two and then the loser gets one. Let me show you how it breaks down by the numbers if my idea is used.

2012: 300-181= 119 loser points awarded

2011: 297-144= 153

2010: 301-184= 117

On average this means each team would get 4 to 5 loser points a season. Cuts the loser point issue down by half.

Let me elaborate more on why I think only in the shootout the points should be split. The NHL last year recently set up the ROW as the tiebreaker for the playoffs (regulation overtime wins). The league is saying only regulation and OT wins count really and shootouts should not be the reason teams get into the playoffs. A bit contradictory if you are going to award the loser point in OT and a shootout. A team winning in overtime should be awarded more for winning in that session, thus creating more exciting overtime sessions. Also I think that overtimes should ten minutes of 4 on 4 hockey. It will be fairly difficult to keep a team off the board in ten minutes of 4 on 4. It is hard to play for the shootout for ten as opposed to five.

Now don't get me wrong I love the shootout and it isn't going anywhere because it attracts fans. However using a skills competition to determine standings for the playoffs the same way OT is used is illogical to me.

Lets look at how the standings would be if each team only had 5 loser points (on the math above), two points for a SO win, and three points were awarded for a win in regulation or OT:


1. Rangers 150pts

2. Boston 134pts

3. Washington 123pts

4. Pittsburgh 140pts

5. Philadelphia 138pts

6. NJ 125pts

7. Ottawa 116pts

8. TB 113pts

9. Winnipeg 108pts

10. Buffalo 108pts

11. Florida 107pts

12. Toronto 102pts

13. Carolina 102pts

14. Islanders 93pts

15. Montreal 88pts


1. St. Louis 144pts

2. Vancouver 142pts

3. Phoenix 119pts

4. Nashville 139pts

5. Chicago 131pts

6. Detroit 131pts

7. Dallas 117pts

8. LA 113pts

9. SJ 113pts

10. Colorado 110pts

11. Calgary 107pts

12. Anaheim 101pts

13. Edmonton 91pts

14 Minnesots 88pts

15. Columbus 84pts

Notice that the playoff teams change allowing for Dallas to get in the West and Tampa Bay to get in the East. Also the lottery changes now being (5-1) NYI, Edmonton, Minnesota, Montreal, and Columbus. Also the point differentials may look large to the eye however remember a win is 3 points so in reality the playoff races are only seperated by a game or two. Also the Rangers win the Presidents trophy and the Blues win the West.

The NHL will probably never do this because of the large point totals that would ruin the record books, but this isn't something to be ignored. What do you think?

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Even though I am late to the party on this entry (I am a newbie here after all...hehe), I think this was a nice read.


I've long been an opponent of losing teams being awarded anything.

The NHL is the only league of the 4 major leagues in the US and Canada that reward teams LOSING via overtime.


The NFL doesn't give anything to teams losing on a field goal in OT, MLB doesn't give a half game to a team losing in extras, and even the NBA (boy do THEY have a boatload of issues), is smart enough to know losers shouldn't be rewarded..even if they DID take a game to OT.


Ahh, but the NHL does, due to the point system, and I think it's seriously flawed.

IMO, the NHL should go to straight up win-loss records, not mattering HOW the teams arrived at a 'W' or an 'L'...OR, at the very least, turn regulation wins into THREE points, then splitting any OT or SO wins by 2 pts for the winner, 1pt for the loser.

Heck, you can even make the OT count for three as well, and leave the SO a 2-1 split....if you are going to reward the loser anyways.


I bet the standings would look a bit different and ppl won't be so surprised when some team who had enough points to make the playoffs due to 'loser points' gets totally owned in the playoffs, because then we would have seen beforehand that they weren't as good as their point totals suggested in the first place!


It drives me absolutely NUTS when analyst call a team that is 8-6-6 as being 'above .500'.

Bull!  The team is 8-12. Plain n simple. The point totals may say they are a better team, but straight up wins and losses don't.

Would anyone really be surprised that a 8-12 team gets totally owned by a truly superior team? No, probably not....but that same team, labeled as 8-6-6 getting owned may have some people saying, "Well they have played pretty well till that game.."


Just illogical.


Again, nice read @Pagulaville26 !

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