Monday, March 14, 2011

I don't know why I did this

Let's imagine a restoration of sanity: if regulation time ends and the game is tied, the teams play an overtime. At the end of that overtime, the game is over. If either team has won, that team gets two points, and the other team gets zero. If neither team has won, they tie, and each team gets one point. Therefore, overtime games are not worth more than regulation games, which is silly. Also, no shootout.

So, we can actually calculate what this would look like, right now. Today, if a team wins within an overtime period, it gets two points, as it should. No change there. If a team loses in an overtime period today, it gets one point, whereas in the sane system, it should get zero. If a game goes to a shootout, we should pretend it ended there, in a tie. Therefore, each team should get one point. Today, the loser does get a point, but the winner gets two, and would only get one in the sane system.

So, for each team, if we take their total points, subtract one point per loss within an overtime period, and subtract one point per shootout win, we will get the number of points that team would have in a sane point system. Let's take a look!

These are the Eastern Conference standings, right now (listed with goal differential, also ignoring the division-winning thing):
1. Philadelphia (+37) - 91 pts, 14 GR
2. Washington (+18) - 90 pts, 12 GR
3. Pittsburgh (+30) - 88 pts, 12 GR
4. Boston (+41) - 85 pts, 14 GR
5. Tampa Bay (-5) - 85 pts, 13 GR
6. Montréal (+12) - 83 pts, 13 GR
7. Buffalo (+2) - 76 pts, 13 GR
8. New York Rangers (+27) - 76 pts, 12 GR
9. Carolina (-13) - 72 pts, 13 GR
10. Atlanta (-29) - 70 pts, 13 GR
11. Toronto (-30) - 70 pts, 13 GR
12. New Jersey (-28) - 68 pts, 14 GR
13. Florida (-18) - 65 pts, 13 GR
14. New York Islanders (-27) - 65 pts, 12 GR
15. Ottawa (-58) - 59 pts, 13 GR

Here's what they would look like using my sane point system:
1. Philadelphia (+37) - 85 pts, 14 GR
2. Washington (+18) - 82 pts, 12 GR
3. Boston (+41) - 80 pts, 14 GR
4. Pittsburgh (+30) - 78 pts, 12 GR
5. Montréal (+12) - 77 pts, 13 GR
6. Tampa Bay (-5) - 75 pts, 13 GR
7. New York Rangers (+27) - 66 pts, 12 GR
8. Buffalo (+2) - 64 pts, 13 GR
9. Carolina (-13) - 63 pts, 13 GR
10. New Jersey (-28) - 62 pts, 14 GR
11. Atlanta (-29) - 62 pts, 13 GR
12. Toronto (-30) - 61 pts, 13 GR
13. Florida (-18) - 56 pts, 13 GR
14. New York Islanders (-27) - 56 pts, 12 GR
15. Ottawa (-58) - 53 pts, 13 GR

What does this show us? Not much, I guess. The same eight teams would be in the playoff picture, but we and the Sabres would be switched. It also puts the ranking much closer to goal differential order. My initial inclination is that this would be a much better way to express how good a team is at hockey, but at the end of the day it gives a team somewhere between 4-5 points (Minnesota, New Jersey) and 11-12 points (Nashville, Buffalo), so it's only responsible for up to an 8-point swing, which is big for teams on the bubble, but statistically unlikely to make a big change in which teams make the playoffs.

Specifically, it shows us that Boston, as their goal differential shows as well, should be higher in the standings than they are, and that we belong a bit ahead of Buffalo. It also shows us that the Devils should be way closer to the playoffs than they are. Fuck the Devils and all, but it's shit like this that makes the NHL kinda bullshit. If overtime games weren't worth more points than regulation games, the Devils' basement-to-the-playoffs run would be realistic, which is shitty 'cause they're the Devils (and fuck them), but it's kinda cool for hockey.

Anyway, I'm not sure why I did this, or what it proves, if anything. But there it is. If I have time, I may go back and analyze the five completed seasons since the lockout to see what ought to be different, if anything.


  1. Great minds, etc? I posted this and then noticed a comment from reader Chris at around the same time, that did the same thing but also put it in a pretty picture:

  2. That's hilarious.

    Also interesting (to me, at least) was that using the old system, the shitty division winner priority seeding that's used doesn't make a difference - the top three teams in both conferences are all six division leaders.