The Calgary Flames won fifty percent of their regular-season games and fell just three point out shy that a playoff point out in 2011. Without the 12 points castle earned for regulation ties, they would have had actually less of a fair shot and the gyeongju would have actually been far less exciting.Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

The approach of an additional NHL season means it i will not ~ be long prior to at least a grasp of hockey pundits unleash their annual complaint versus the idea of awarding single points because that overtime or shootout losses.

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To preempt that, here is this author’s umpteenth argument in donate of this perfectly logical, practical and underappreciated concept.

Back in the pre-lockout, pre-shootout era, many printings of the NHL standings included the adhering to columns: W because that wins, L for losses, RT because that regulation ties and T because that ties.

Did you catch that? A team tally of regulation ties, a telling synonym for overtime losses, was appropriately sandwiched between losses and also ties.


Today, the operative acronyms room OTL (overtime loss) and SOL (shootout loss). Yet it’s the precise same system, together it should be.

Regulation losses space finalized by the sound of a horn or a siren together a clock hits directly zeroes. Conversely, overtime losses and shootout losses room finalized spontaneously with either a puck hitting the ago of the net, a goalie foiling a punish shot or the shot traveling broad of the cage.

That must tell friend something. Regulation and also overtime decision are various in the method they come about and have to be different in the way they influence a team’s record.


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An RT, OTL or sol is not quite a tie in the by the game is no much longer tied when the contesting teams hit the showers.

On the various other hand, the team through fewer goals has actually experienced something different from a regular loss in the they could not it is in finished turn off within the typical 60-minute time frame. The victors had to work-related a tiny longer and also harder to vanquish the losers.

For that reason, what numerous derisively speak to the “loser point” actually has merit that is as clear together a lane of ice cream freshly Zambonied for a shootout.

The method some purists rail against overtime points, one would think the the shedding team skates away through as plenty of points together the winner in ~ night’s end.

Newsflash: They perform not.

In a comparable vein, quit playing this card: “Giving solitary points for an overtime loss urges teams to play for overtime rather of make the efforts to victory it in regulation.”


Maybe the does sometimes, but teams that use that strategy execute so at their own peril. If anything, the prospect of morphing a two-point purse into a three-point package at the end of a 60-minute tie need to deter groups from play for overtime if they deserve to score late in regulation.

Simply put, under the current system, it is particularly unwise in divisional and conference gamings to give away points. Even with an eventual victory, Team A still provides a allude to a fellow racehorse in Team B.

In turn, it might turn out to it is in Pyrrhic win for Team A, for that single point might ultimately order the difference in postseason seeding. Those teams could meet again in the playoffs and also Team B can have residence ice for video game 7 because Team A failed to knock castle off before that third-period buzzer numerous months ago.

And you know what? That would certainly serve Team A right for its complacency and/or prize Team B because that its perseverance in a hard-fought, continual season overtime battle.

But under the purists’ propose policy, Team B would certainly come increase empty in spite of capitalizing on Team A’s laid-back approach. In turn, playing for overtime when such is not necessary wouldn’t hurt Team A in the lengthy run, nor would Team B’s consistency price them.

You can retort, “Teams don’t gain partial credit for overtime casualty in the playoffs, therefore they do not do it in the regular season, either.”

The postseason and also regular season are currently inherently different species, so dealing with their overtime stakes in different ways is no problematic. In fact, it makes all the more sense.


In the postseason, any kind of given team is focusing on strictly one enemy for a expectations of one or two weeks. Any kind of loss, regulation or overtime, pushes castle closer come the finish of their season and also automatically elevates the urgency for the following game against the same devil as last time.

The consistent season, however, begins and also ends through 30 active teams and nobody engages the same enemy four or 7 consecutive times.

In the continual season, win or lose, the following task is to rotate the web page to another opponent. And also once again, the score is to accumulate as numerous points as possible in hopes of having enough to finish amongst the top eight in one’s conference after ~ 82 outings.

To obtain two clues is the best-case scenario. To come up north is the worse-case. And in the occasion of a regulation tie/overtime loss/shootout loss, responsible teams are left to assess an easy math and say, “One point is much more than zero, yet it’s much less than two. If we had only perfect our comeback…”

In the various other locker room, any kind of responsible team will say, “We took two out that three. Yet if we had actually just hit the network one an ext time, we might have taken 2 out that two. If we had only finished them turn off earlier…”

And both teams can learn indigenous the experience in preparation for the playoffs, when the overtime policies are naturally an ext stringent and the stakes naturally higher.

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If require be, perhaps a switch to the oft-discussed 3-2-1-0 points mechanism wouldn’t be together a bad compromise in this debate. Make it a three-point parcel every night so the the losing team constantly takes less than 50 percent the the pie (instead of one out of two) and also motivate the winner to take treatment of service within the traditional 60-minute time frame.