December 27, 2011
We've had our share of debates about the charity point (a.k.a. the loser point in overtime).
Many fans are fine with the current format, because it promotes (faux) parity and keeps teams in the playoff hunt. Many fans would rather see success in regulation hockey valued more than overtime or shootout victories; in some cases, getting rid of the charity point altogether. Still others are all like "WHAT WAS WRONG WITH TIES! GET OFF OF MY LAWN!"
That's why alternative standings are like catnip for us: It's the great "what if?" in hockey. What if they tabulated wins and losses differently? Would it help or hinder my team? What if they never got rid of tie games?
We stumbled upon Power Scout Hockey's site this week, and it has all sorts of goodies about momentum and trends. It also has daily standings through which you can toggle back and forth to see the conference playoff picture with or without the charity points. (The current standings are on the left; the ones sans charity points on the right.)
Above is the Eastern Conference; here's the West. The plus/minus is the difference to conference seeding, not points.
In the East … well, the New Jersey Devils' addiction to shootout points is well-documented, having gone 8-1 in the skills competition. The Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets would be rewarded in this format; the Devils and Senators would take a tumble.
In the West, the St. Louis Blues would be battling the New York Rangers for the President's Trophy and the Dallas Stars would be leading the Pacific. The San Jose Sharks would go from the No. 3 seed to the No. 10 seed, but that has as much to do with parity in the West than any kind of over-reliance on the charity point or shootout. Calgary, meanwhile, has only played four overtime games and lost them all, two of them in the shootout. But their work in regulation would have translated into a No. 7 seed.
Alas, the alternative format does nothing to help the Columbus Blue Jackets. But you knew that.
We occasionally like to take the pulse of you folks on the standings: With realignment a reality, what's your ideal distribution of points in an NHL game? (Also, any other alternative standings sites we should check out?)