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RandBall: The NHL standings are frustratingly dishonest

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • March 12, 2014 - 1:02 PM

This is not news, merely review, but as the NHL regular season winds down, we find ourselves increasingly frustrated by the dishonesty of the league standings as currently constructed.

It is laughable that an overtime or shootout victory is counted as a victory while an overtime or shootout loss is merely treated as "overtime." Hey, nothing to see here! The way the points are accumulated is fine, but the categorization gives a false impression of the relative strength of a lot of teams -- including, perhaps, the Wild.

So as a public service, here is our modified Wild record 65 games into the season:

*Basic premise: Regulation wins and regulation losses stay the same. Overtime wins still count as wins because even though it's 4-on-4, it's still real hockey with real goals. Overtime losses count as losses for the same reason. Shootout wins count as ties. Shootout losses count as ties. They are perhaps useful in exciting the crowd and awarding an extra point in a game, but they are otherwise fictional events.

*So the Wild, as currently shown in the standings, are 34-22-9 -- 34 wins, 22 losses, 9 "overtime" (AKA shootout or overtime losses). The problem is that when you just write out that record, it looks like those 9 shootout or overtime losses are ties.

*The Wild is 7-6 in shootouts and 2-3 in overtime games. So subtract seven wins. Those are now ties. The two overtime wins stay in the win column; the three overtime losses go into the loss column; and the six shootout losses count as ties.

*The Wild's new modified record is 27-25-13 -- 27 wins (regulation or overtime), 25 losses (regulation or overtime) and 13 ties (games that went into a shootout). That is an honest accounting of the team, particular when it comes to the postseason where there are no shootouts (and no ties, but still).

*If the playoffs started today, Minnesota would be the No. 7 seed and would face No. 2 seed Anaheim. A lot can change, but that's where things sit as of now. Anaheim's record is 43-15-7. The Ducks are 2-6 in shootouts and have one overtime loss. Their modified record is 41-16-8, one of the few teams that is pretty close to their "real" record.

*Other possible Wild opponents in the playoffs:

The Blues' record is 44-14-7; their modified record is 36-18-11

The Blackhawks' record is 38-13-14; their modified record is 33-19-13

The Sharks' record is 42-17-7; their modified record is 33-19-14

The Avalanche's record is 42-18-5; their modified record is 39-20-6

Your thoughts, please, in the comments.

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