Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Three Point Game

Talking about the Maple Leafs right now is kind of tough because they are awful and smelly and big fat meanie liars who promised change and commitment to defense and just an overall improvement but are playing the same listless let-someone-else-do-the-scoring- and-backchecking-tonight game they've been playing since the lockout ended, so I'm not going to give them any time tonight.

Let's talk about three point games instead. The Leafs are pretty familiar with three point games because these guys lose in overtime more than any one else in NHL and it's those eight points from those eight OT loses that are the only thing keeping the Leafs point total near respectable levels, but I'm not talking about them tonight.

The way it stands right now, the NHL awards two points to any team capable of finishing a hockey game in sixty minutes with more goals than their opponent. If both teams have scored the same number of goals, that is, if the score is tied and stalemated and not conclusive after three full periods of skating back and forth over a frozen surface comprised mostly of very cold water and sometimes spare change, if this happens the game goes into overtime and then possibly a shootout if five more minutes of skating back and forth still fail to resolve anything. The team that emerges with the win will receive the same two points they would have anyway, but the losing team, the team that failed, say, the Toronto Maple Leafs for demonstration purposes, will receive one point, which, the astute reader and sporting enthusiast will note, is entirely one full point more than they would have received had they not blown the lead in the dying seconds of the game to a team the Toronto Maple Leafs should beat every single time but instead choke like they were dining on tiny chicken bones before every game.

This results in the three point a game, a game in which three points are doled out between the two teams and a game that has a tendency to skew standings and make bad teams look better and make mediocre teams feel like they still have a shot at something meaningful which is why the NHL likes three point games because this way everybody is a winner and nobody gets their feelings hurt unless you are the LA Kings in which case you are just awful no matter what you do. The three point game is frustrating for me and others too because of just that: it makes bad teams look like they are not bad teams. The Toronto Maple Leafs, that team I am not talking about today, can send out their General Manager and have him, without lying, describe the team he built that has won 15 of it's first 38 games as having a winning percentage of .500 because eight of those losses were in OT and therefore don't count at all for anything.

The Leafs are clearly not a .500 team but the standings don't lie. I am not against three point games though. I do not think the league should stop rewarding points for OT losses.

What the NHL should do is make every game a three point game. Three points for doing your job and giving the fans a resolution at the final buzzer, and then two points for an OT win and the same one point for losing in OT. This would separate out the contenders from the pretenders. Thinking about it, it won't do anything for the cluttered standings column in your newspaper but it's already pretty cluttered as is so this is not my biggest concern.

The NHL is not going to do this because they want parity and they want their fans to think that even though their GM might be inept or just brain dead or maybe their highest paid players are stiffs dreaming of summers somewhere other than this godawful city where all it ever does is snow or rain, that their teams still have a chance because in today's NHL anyone can grow up to be President as long as you try your best and lose in overtime enough.


Edit - I'm going to try start updating more often for better or for worse whether or not I have anything to say or not. Should be fun!

1 comment:

walkinvisible said...

is toronto ever going to either:
a) win
b) sack jfj


it seems like neither is ever gonna happen !!!!