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NHL Board of Governors officially eliminates shootout wins from tie-breaker process

Sep 14, 2010, 8:12 PM EDT

The NHL has officially put an end to a relative injustice in the standings tie-breaking procedure today. The NHL Board of Governors officially approved a by-law eliminating shootout wins from being used in factoring tie-breakers at the end of the season to figure out playoff placement.

In other words, winning in regulation or overtime just got a lot more important without having to show it in the standings. Here’s how the league rule book looks now:

NHL By-Law 27.3 now reads as follows (with the approved revision in underlined italics):

        At the conclusion of the regular Schedule of Championship Games the standing of the teams in each Conference shall be determined in accordance with the following priorities in the order listed:

a)        First place in each of the three divisions seeded 1, 2 and 3.

b)        The higher number of points earned by the Club.

c)        The greater number of games won by the Club (excluding games won in the Shootout).

d)        The higher number of points earned in games against each other among two or more Clubs having equal standing under priorities (b) and (c).

e)        The greater differential between goals scored for and against by clubs having equal standing under priority (d).

While this can be scored as a victory for those that have turned their backs on the shootout as if they were Chong Li in “Bloodsport” it now leaves the shootout out there as basically an entertainment solution to games. Ideally, teams will want to win games in regulation or overtime now because, on the off chance they end up tied, it’s better to have that win count for something rather than a point booster. Whether or not this actually motivates teams to get gutsy and go for wins remains to be seen.

That said, anything that helps bring about the end of the tyrannical farce called the shootout is A-OK in my book. As a guy that once supported the shootout because of my disdain for ties, seeing it in action has completely changed my opinion and I’ve grown to appreciate a game that can be evenly played can end in an even score.

  1. David - Sep 14, 2010 at 9:38 PM

    Respectfully disagree on that one. I could never go back to the days of tie games. Hard enough to watch, even harder when you drop money to go out to the game, only to leave the same way you arrived. The game may as well have not been played. While many are against the shootout, saying it has little to do with hockey, I am for it. First, it is a great way to engage fans, which should always be a priority. Also, ever since age 5, hockey players participate in team shootouts after practice, so it is sort of ingrained in the “hockey lifestyle.”

  2. John - Sep 15, 2010 at 7:44 AM

    Hopefully this is is the beginning of the end for shootouts. It has no place in hockey. Personally, if I’m watching a game that is still tied after overtime, I turn it off. When the new 4 on 4 overtime started it was in many cases the best hockey of the game. This stopped after the philosophy of “lets not lose it in OT, we’ll take our chances in the shootout” crept in. Let em play 10 minutes of 4 on 4, if there is still not a winner, nobody gets the extra point.

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