Earlier today, we published the final edition of our True Record standings for the 2014-15 season.
As promised, I want to take a look at some of the more interesting things to emerge from our little thought experiment.
- Point inflation cannot be ignored.
This is the most obvious takeaway. The current format of the NHL standings really inflates the point totals for teams across the board. In the real standings, 12 teams finished with more than 100 points. In the True Record standings, the total was just two: The New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This certainly changes — if not outright cheapens — what it means for a team to have a 100-point season and makes it harder to discern which teams were truly dominant throughout the year.
- Getting rid of the shootout could save jobs!
The biggest question I had coming into this experiment was whether the shootout would actually affect which teams made the playoffs or not.
And much to my chagrin, they do.
In real life, the Boston Bruins didn’t make the playoffs. Today they fired general manager Peter Chiarelli. In the True Record standings, their playoff schedule would be starting Thursday night against the Rangers. Instead, the Ottawa Senators snuck in.
- The playoff landscape is much different than it would have been without shootouts.
Only two of the current real-life NHL playoff matchups were consistent with the True Record playoff matchups (Caps–Isles and Flames–Canucks). The other six were completely different. This isn’t as important to the grand scheme of things as my second point, but it’s worth noting that the shootout point affects everything in its path.
- I would much prefer some of the True Record matchups.
Let’s be honest: I really only made this point for one reason.
BLUES–BLACKHAWKS BABY!!! I would kill for this to be a first-round matchup again. Last year’s series turned friends of mine who didn’t know what a hockey puck was into fans for life. The shootout robbed us of this matchup this year*, and now we have to hope and pray that it happens in Round Two.
*I completely understand that the shootout likely gave us this match-up last year in the first place. Don’t argue with me.
Buffalo had 15 regulation and overtime wins. Arizona had 19. You could have combined their records– that’s a 164-game sample size! — and they would have barely made the playoffs.
What does everybody else think?
Taylor Gaines can be reached at TGaines@hookedonhockey.com or on Twitter @GainesTaylor.