The NHL Points System: Time To Rethink Points for Losing

May 18th, 2010 by Matthew Rutledge-Taylor Leave a reply »
Something has been bothering me for 12 years now. 

Its the point awarded for losing after regulation time has ended, in the NHL.  Before the 1999-2000 season, if a game was tied after regulation, the teams played up to 5 more minutes of 5-on-5 sudden death overtime.  If the game remained tied after overtime, that’s the way the game ended, tied.  There were no shootouts in the NHL until after the 2005 lockout. 

Points in the standing were awarded after the game as follows: 2 points for regulation wins; 2 points for overtime wins; 0 points for regulation loses; 0 points for overtime losses; and 1 point to each team for ties.  Entering each game, both teams knew that there were 2 points up for grabs. The system was as simple as it was elegant; either one team got both points, or they split them. 

However, the NHL decided that ties were a bad thing.  It’s not clear exactly why this was.  One could make the argument that games are more entertaining when one team wins.  It might also have had something to do with Gary Bettman trying to bring the NHL in line with the rest of the major sports leag ...

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