Lou Lamoriello has some glorious old-school ideas for the National Hockey League.
We’ve always fancied his solution for the goal-scoring issues in the League: Go back to the full two-minute power play, where teams can score as many goals as they’d like. Put an emphasis on skill. Make penalties worth something. It’s radical, but it makes sense.
Oh, sure, there’s downside: Players embellishing more or referees burying their whistles under the ice, lest they sway the game in favor of a team like the Washington Capitals and their power play. But if the end result is more goals then, hey, it’s better than goalies in yoga pants.
(There are myriad changes the NHL can make to the penalty kill that would increase goal-scoring in the part of the game in which goals should be scored, but that’s another column.)
This week at the GM meetings, Lou went old school again. Forget all your talk about three-point wins; just dump the loser point.
“I’m not one who personally is in favor of three point games, but I’m also not in favor of getting a point if you don’t win,” Lamoriello said on Monday. “I’d rather see the game just be two and zero, or end up in a tie one and one. I’d rather see it that way than you just extend the number of points.”
Let’s test the first theory. Here’s how the Eastern Conference looks in a straight wins (regulation, overtime or shootout) scenario:
As you can see, Lamoriello’s suggestion would be self-defeating for his Toronto Maple Leafs this season. They’re a point out of the wild card now; they’d be two wins out of it otherwise.
Here’s the West:
That sound you heard was everyone in Calgary nodding in agreement with Lou Lamoriello. And Blues fans nodding along with them.
What’s interesting about Lamoriello’s suggestion is that outside of a couple dramatic swings — the Flames and Ducks in the West, the Penguins dropping to the wild card in the East — this doesn’t exactly reshuffle the standings deck. The same 16 teams that are in the playoffs under the current system would still be there in a Wins/Losses format, albeit shuffled around a bit.
Interesting thoughts from Lamoriello, especially when you consider how clarity in the standings has been mentioned as an obstacle for fans trying to get into the sport. (“Mommy, what’s a ROW?”)
Of course, this format would NEVER happen. Not just because the NHL loves its current state of forced parity, but because the NHL really, really doesn’t love the truth of it all: That instead of seven teams under “.500” in the current system, there are actually 16 under Lou’s.
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