I was reading Ray Ferraro's column on TSN.ca regarding (among other things), the current standings format and it got me thinking about changes I would make to the format as well as the NHL as a whole.
On the subject of the standings: I would be in favor of 3 points for a regulation or OT victory. It's a team game so let's reward "team victories". Under the current format, teams receive 1 point for an OT or Shootout Loss....I say give 'em nothing! In basketball you don't get anything for losing in OT. In baseball, they don't give you bonus points for losing in extra innings. Winning should be all that matters in professional sports.
That said, I do like the shootout as an alternative to the sister-kissing that is a regular season tie, but think that 1 bonus point for a shootout victory would suffice nicely. The Phoenix Coyotes are a prime example of how "full points" for a shootout victory can schew the standings. With 12 shootout victories, the Coyotes have picked up an additional 12 pts (in the current format) for what amounts to an individual breakaway competition. One could argue that they could wheel out the targets or a radar gun if they wanted to award points for individual skills.
As of today Phoenix and Chicago are tied a top the Western Conference with 97 pts respectively. If we were to break it down into my format it would look like this:
Regulation and OT wins: 37 (x 3 = 111)
Shootout Wins: 8
Losses: 26 (19 Reg. + 9 SO/OT)
Total Pts = 119
Regulation and OT wins: 34 (x 3 = 102)
Shootout wins: 12
Losses: 27 ( 22 Reg + 5 SO/OT)
Total Pts = 114
Granted 5 pts is not a lot of separation for two quality teams, but keep in mind the Hawks have played 2 fewer games. I like this format because a) it rewards TEAM victories and b) it would be interesting to see how strategies would change at the end of regulation and in OT knowing that there were no consolation prizes. It would be the "Top Gun" equivalent of "no points for second best".
Next Up: Re-alignment. Stay tuned