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NHL's Third Point: A Relic Rule and No One Seems To Have Noticed

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 10: A referee handles the game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Dallas Stars at the HSBC Arena on March 10, 2010 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
A BCorrespondent IApril 9, 2010

The NHL brought in the overtime-loss point prior to the lockout. At the time, fans complained that teams would just "kill off" overtime. They were happy to just get the point, take the tie, and move on.

To combat this, the NHL gave both of them the point and figured they'd open up the game and make for more exciting hockey if neither side had anything to lose.

It worked.

Then, coming out of the lockout, they added another rule: the shootout.

And suddenly, the NHL had a relic rule that no longer mattered at all, but for some reason, no one complained, no one changed it, and no regular media commentators even seem to wonder why.

The fact is, now that every game will be decided one way or the other, the overtime-loss point is a relic of an outdated system.

It muddles the standings, makes things harder to understand for casual fans, and fails to accomplish its sole purpose: liven up overtimes.

With the addition of the shootout, it would be crazy to "kill off" overtime and play for the shootout. If the shootout is anything, it's a crapshoot—it's an entertaining one, but one nonetheless.

No one can really predict who wins and few goalies are actually specifically better than the others consistently.

Players who you would think would be amazing are statistically mediocre—see Crosby—and others who no one would expect are dynamos (anyone remember the year of Jussi Jokinen?).

I cannot imagine many coaches who would want to risk two points on a skill contest.

That means, they'd try their best to get it done four-on-four, just like they do now.

Thus, let's dispense with the relic and go back to the old system of two points for a win and none for a loss, no matter when it happens.

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