I love hockey.
I mean, I really love hockey.
I have to confess something.
Sometimes the game can be...
Sometimes the game is really fucking boring.
There. I said it.
Blame it on coaching systems, salary cap era, dispersion of talent, whatever. I can't stand to watch a game between two teams that dump and chase and try to safely eke out at least a point by getting to overtime. Kings vs Predators? YAWN. Canucks vs anyone? YAWN.
Why do teams play such boring fucking hockey all the time? Why can't we have thirty teams like Chicago and... well, how about thirty teams like Chicago?
I'll tell you why. I've already alluded to it. It's because of the fucking loser point.
You see, right now, it's possible for a team to win only ten, maybe twelve or thirteen games, and MAKE THE FUCKING PLAYOFFS!
How is this possible? If a team got to overtime in every game of the season they would bank 82 points right there. The cutoff for making the playoffs will probably be about 92-95 points in the East this year. So some team could literally lose 70 games and still make the playoffs... theoretically.
Of course, that's nearly impossible. Just as no team can really ever win every game, also no team could ever play every game to a tie. But winning is harder than tying, isn't it? So don't you think it's entered the minds of coaches, pretty much everywhere, with mediocre rosters, that a tie is the goal? Why risk a loss by taking chances when a tie is all you need?
Why do you think fenwick close, the most accurate predictor of future team success we have, tracks shots when the game is within a goal in the first two periods but tied in the third? It's because when teams are tied in the third, they both shut down. Guaranteed point with a chance for two.
Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.
But what it's done is crippled the game. Teams don't value a regulation win any more than an overtime or crapshoot win so they don't take needless risks. And who can blame them? If I've got a roster full of third line players, I'd be pretty happy to dump and chase my way to at least a point every game. And if I am only slightly better than that team of third liners, do I really want to risk losing both points on the whims of PDO? I'll take my safety point, thank you, and hope to get the second point in extra time.
This is why I am ecstatic that the league is currently considering going to a three point system. I don't remember where I heard this, I think maybe a tweet from Pierre LeBrun, but whatever. I think a three point system in the NHL would open the doors for more exciting hockey. Why? Well, I am glad you asked.
If there were three points up for grabs in every game, not only would each game have equal value in the standings, but there would be value associated with risk.
Right now, from a coaching perspective, there is no value in risking one point for just one more point. But if the difference were two points? The teams who have skill would easily be willing to risk their one point against a possible three. Getting to overtime would no longer mean guaranteeing a banked point, it would mean guaranteeing a lost point.
It would change the goddamned game.
A three point game would force New Jersey to open up against Columbus and go for the three points.
A three point game would see dump and chase turn into possession.
A three point game would make PK Subban one of the most valuable and electrifying talents in the league. (As if he already isn't).
Would it hurt parity? Absolutely! Fuck parity! Who wants parity when the cost is boredom?
I really hope the league moves to a three point system because I believe it would make hockey exciting again, no matter who is playing.