Crawl Across the Ocean

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

No More Ties

No, this is not a post about my clothing preferences (although it could be), it's time to continue the alternating hockey-sausage posting pattern.

So the NHL has declared a new era in which there will be no more ties, only wins and losses.

As I see it, for any given team, there are only two important outcomes of the NHL regular season:
1) Does the team make the playoffs?
2) If yes, what is their seed in the playoffs?

Both of these are in turn determined by how many points a team gets during the season. So the only thing that really matters in the season is how many points a team gets. So the only important outcome of a regular season game is how many points the team got in that game.

There are 3 possible outcomes of this variable in any given game.
1) The team gets 2 points, either by outscoring the opposition in regulation, scoring in sudden death overtime, or outscoring the opposition in a shootout
2) The team gets 1 point, by scoring the same number of goals as their opponent in regulation and then either being scored on in overtime or being outscored in a shootout.
3) The team gets 0 points, because it is outscored in regulation play.

All this is understood, but where I hold a radical opinion is that I think, given that the most important result of a game is which of these three outcomes occurred, that we should have a unique word to describe each possibility.

Currently, the 2 point scenario is described as a 'win', while *both* the 1 point and 0 point scenarios are described as a 'loss'. So one team could play 5 games and get 5 points and another team could play 5 games and get 0 points and both teams could be described as having 'lost 5 in a row'. Clearly, this is unacceptable.

So, the first decision is whether we should use the word 'loss' to describe the scenario when a team gets 1 point or 0 points. There are any number of both sports and countries in the world and there are precious few things that they almost all agree on. But one thing that *is* pretty universal is the idea that losses are for losers and when you lose you get nothing. Furthermore, I'd say that the concept that the worst possible outcome from a match is described as a 'loss' has fairly wide acceptance as well. So from now on, I will use the word 'loss' to describe situations where the team got 0 points.

The tricky question is, of course, what to call the outcome when the team gets one point. Clearly, we need a new word. One which indicates that the team scored the same number of goals as their opponent in regulation play and that they got one point out of the game. Well, I can think of one obvious candidate...


  • Some suggestions:

    'Non-loss Loss'
    'Almost Win'
    'Almost Loss'
    'Half a Win'
    'Nice Try'
    'Glass Half Full'
    'Glass Half Empty'
    'Too Smart by Half'
    'Better Luck Next Time'
    'Equal Score'
    '*My* Tie'

    By Blogger Simon, at 6:07 PM  

  • Nice list. If we leave it up to the Toronto media, they are sure to go with 'Glass Half Empty'.

    The Leafs have ben slumping lately with only 3 wins and 4 half empty glasses in their last 10. They're just too old and slow to compete in the new NHL. (followed by Leafs winning the next 5 games, followed in turn by columns abot how even if they can get by in the regular season they'll get killed in the playoffs...)

    By Blogger Declan, at 7:41 PM  

  • I'm hoping to see a team like Pittsburgh make the playoffs with a record of something like 26-10-46 (98 points).

    To accomplish this, they need only to keep up their current pace of 'one-pointers' and simultaneously win 35.6% of their remaining games.

    Given that they stink, the tricky part is that they'll need to avoid taking regulation losses in 91.8% of their remaining games.

    Still, I think it's possible.

    By Blogger Simon, at 7:58 PM  

  • You'd (I'd) think it woud be more likely for a low scoring team to have a lot of half empty glasses but maybe there's something I'm overlooking which explains why a run and gun crew like Pittsburgh would have a lot.

    By Blogger Declan, at 10:35 PM  

  • Pittsburgh may be 'run and gun' but they aren't scoring very many goals.

    By Blogger Simon, at 10:39 AM  

  • It's true, so far they've got the runs but they're lacking in guns.

    By Blogger Declan, at 3:17 PM  

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