Crawl Across the Ocean

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Quick Hockey Question

Now that the NHL has reached a deal between the players and owners, the focus will likely shift to what rule changes, if any, the league will make to try and make hockey back into the exciting fast-paced game that is used to be back in the 1980's.

So here's my question: what is holding the NHL back from switching to 3 points for a win instead of the current 2. Giving 3 points for a win encourages offense because it penalizes teams which tie a lot of games and defensive teams tend to tie a lot more games than offensive teams. In effect, as the clock ticks down in a tie game, teams face a situation where the reward from scoring (2 extra points) is double the penalty of being scored upon (1 point lost) which will (over time) make offensive strategies more successful than defensive ones.

I guess traditionalists might argue that it will skew the point totals for teams based on what they were in the past, but changes to the number of games in the season and the idiotic 1 point for an overtime loss rule have already done that. Mysterious.

OK, I have a second question. I see from some recent reports that the NHL is considering expanding the playoffs to 20 teams (with an extra preliminary round to see who makes the final 16). So my question is: are they insane? There probably shouldn't even be much more than 20 teams in the league, never mind 20 making the playoffs. Having the season end in July instead of the current June is not the right road to be on. What is wrong with these people?

Labels: , ,


  • A few questions there... Here's my take on them:
    Three points for a win is a good idea for one big reason, and that's coaching. the exciting hockey of the '80s was there in large part because of defensive incompetence. Coaching's gotten better, right down to the fitness of individual players, and that's tightened up the game.

    As for traditionalists (I am one), the rules get tweaked all the time. I hate shootouts, but if they happen, they happen.

    50% of the league making the playoffs is plenty enough, even if that is where the owners make the most money. The new CBA puts paid to that, doesn't it?

    As for what's wrong with these people: Money first, game second.

    Blatant post whoring:

    By Blogger Thursday, at 10:29 PM  

  • I agree that coaching is by far the biggest part of why hockey is defensive these days. I think that in some sense the stakes are high enough that nobody wants to make a mistake. Also, defending and counter-attacking is just a successful strategy.

    Part of it is also the increasing ratio of goalie size to net size.

    And part of it is the growth of obstructing tactics and hooking and such that wouldn't have been tolerated in the past.

    So 3 points for a win to change the coaching emphasis, reduce the size of goalie pads and cut down on the obstruction, a nice simple 3 point plan (I'm not sure they can pull off #3 as long as people continue to believe that is unfair for one team to get more penalties thananother, regardless of how many infractions they commit, but shrinking the pads looks like it will happen (a little bit), and 3 points for a win seems like a no-brainer (but they have no brains)...

    By Blogger Declan, at 11:09 PM  

  • I agree that 3 points for a win is a great idea. If they care so much about tradition, perhaps they can just divide everything by 3.

    Then you get 2 points for a win, 2/3rds of a point for a tie, and 0 points for a loss. Same effect, and historical point totals would be more comparable.

    Having 1/3 of a point might seem complicated, but I suspect that anyone that reads the standings is familiar with the concept of fractions.

    A much discussed proposal is the the following:
    3 pts for regulation win
    2 pts for OT/shootout win
    1 pt for OT/shootout loss
    0 pts for regulation loss

    While there is a certain appeal to the idea that every game has 3 points up for grab, it clearly wouldn't encourage offensive tactics to the same extent as Declan's proposal. As the clock ticks down in regulation the reward for scoring a goal would be +1.5 (roughly) and the penalty for allowing one would be -1.5. In OT, the reward and penalties are still equally sized at +0.5, -0.5.

    So, how about this proposal then:

    60 min games are followed by a 5 min OT if needed, followed by a shootout if needed.

    4 points for a regulation win
    0 points for a regulation loss
    2 points for an OT win
    0 points for OT loss
    1 point for a shootout win
    0 points for a shootout loss

    This system would have the effect that each team would try desperately to win at the end of each stage

    By Blogger dejour, at 11:48 AM  

  • I'm not big on fractional points but I like your 4 point.. scheme.

    Although your approach may take some ofthe excitement out of a shootut if there is only 1 point at stake.

    How about 4 for a win, 2 for an win in OT, 0 for a win in a shootout and -2 for losing a shootout. If that doesn't open things up in the late stage of a tie game, nothing will!

    Plus, playoff races would last longer because as long as you were within 6 points of the team ahead of you, you'd still have a chance to catch them in one game (although you might expect the team you're trying to catch to just let their opponent score on them to avoid the -2 points, hmm OK, maybe negative points isn't such a good idea...

    By Blogger Declan, at 12:10 PM  

  • I think that each game should have a random point total up for grabs.

    A local celebrity could open up an envelope at the end of the game and announce how many points the winning team is to be awarded (say, from 0 to 4)!

    (just kidding)

    By Blogger Simon, at 9:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home