Monday, November 30, 2009

'Around The Horn'- First Edition

1) We at Fauxrumors had been discussing for a while the possibility of doing a semi-regular discussion/response to the Sunday hockey columnists. As many might already know the Sunday paper is where most of the better known hockey columnists do a regular column discussing various aspects of their home teams and the NHL in general. We read these folks for both insight and for humor (unintended sometimes). We sometimes agree and sometimes very much disagree with their respective takes, but at the very least many times its good fodder for blog discussion. Some of the aforementioned writers include but are NOT limited to:

  • Larry Brooks- NY Post

  • Kevin Dupont - Boston Globe

  • Bruce Garrioch - Ottawa Sun

  • Dave Molinari - Pittsburgh Post gazette

  • Steve Simmons- Toronto Sun

  • James Mirtle- Toronto Globe

  • Adrian Dater- Denver Post

2) The story this past week that got our interest was Larry Brooks' story concerning the shoot out. Or as we like to call the 'demonstration' that takes place AFTER the real game. We have been on record from the start against the silly way of determining the outcome of games. WE felt back when it was first instituted (after the last Bettman lockout) that based upon seeing the shoot out in minor league games that it was an anti climatic exercise after a good hockey game. Brooks apparently has not only come to that conclusion but gone a step further in saying that the silly way of deciding games is ruining the NHL. He mentions stats that show that the number of games going to the extra- extra session has been steadily climbing. Its risen to what it is now: An astounding 18% of ALL games are decided by this method!! Not hockey, but by a skills competition that has much to do with actual hockey as a home run contest does with a baseball game

3) It seems coaches (trying to keep the regulation losses to a minimum) have understandably instituted a conservative approach that has resulted in an amazing 27% of ALL games going to OT (where most end up in the SO). As most, including us, surmised years ago, coaches will adapt to the rules and in an attempt to keep their jobs try what means they can employ to minimize the damage, thus defensive first schemes that result in fewer and fewer games decided in 60 minutes. Not only are teams playing for regulation draws to get the guaranteed point, they do it more often late in the season, when playoff positions are on the line! So get ready, its gonna get worse! So in essence, when games are supposed to get more competitive, they actually get less competitive. Teams naturally do what the system encourages them to do: play for the guaranteed point, then take their chances during the brief overtime period that follows the real game.

4) So, what to do now? We can't see the NHL changing the shoot out. Its here to stay folks. In fact as we wrote 2 1/2 years ago don't be shocked to see it start to seep into consideration in the post season! In our opinion the number one flaw is that a victory in regulation is considered the same as a victory in overtime or shootout. That needs to change. Incentive to win in 60 minutes needs to be reclaimed. We'd prefer a 2 point system. You win in regulation you get 2, you win in the OT/SO, you get 1. You lose, you get ZERO regardless. That way no incentive to play for a 'tie' , and no gain for losing. Of course critics abound for that way of thinking so we'd be OK (although not enamoured) with the 3 point system. In that a regulation win would be elevated to a 3 point gain, and a OT/SO win 2 points. The loser point would remain unfortunately. At least that method incentivizes a team to win in regulation and the loser of an OT game comes away with something. One thing is clear, the current system is broken!

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