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A New Stat: True Record

Here at Hooked on Hockey Magazine, we are always looking for new ways to help you look at the National Hockey League.

Whether it was Prashanth’s brilliant predictor formula or my in-depth look at the way ESPN covers hockey, we have always strived to provide you — our readers — with unique, interesting content.

Now, I’d like to throw my hat into the ring once more with something I call “true record”.

Since 2005-06, when the shootout was implemented as a tie-breaking vehicle during regular-season games, about 13 percent of games have ended in a shootout (as of March).

This sucks because shootouts are not a great way to determine the winner of a game. And giving teams an extra point that often for winning what amounts to a glorified skills competition can drastically alter the standings. For example, the New York Islanders are 5-0 in shootouts, giving them 18 “wins” when they’ve only really won 13 games from playing actual hockey.

Maybe you like shootouts as a way to determine a game. All I’m saying is that they aren’t the most accurate portrayal of which team may have deserved to win. In fact, maybe the two teams just deserved to tie (gasp!).

We all know the NHL probably won’t take shootouts out of the game anytime soon, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.

I’ve decided to reorder the standings based on what I call teams’ true records. In my standings, wins in regulation and overtime count as two points. If you go to a shootout, that’s a tie and each team gets one point. Naturally, losses (even in overtime) are worth nothing. This eliminates fluke shootout wins and abandons the idea of rewarding teams just for making it to overtime, creating a more accurate picture of how the standings should look.

For reference, here’s how this would look for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh has 15 regulation and overtime wins. They have lost five games in regulation, one in overtime and one in a shootout). In shootouts, they also have two wins. So, take the shootout loss and the two shootout wins, and make those into ties. Then make the overtime loss into a normal loss. That’s three ties and one extra loss on the record. So, adjusted, the Penguins record in “true record” would be 15-6-3. This puts them at 33 points, three off their real-life pace.

Will this expose certain teams as mediocre? Will this give teams lower in the standings hope for the future? Will this take certain teams out of the playoffs that are in in real life? That’s all part of the fun of this experiment.

I plan on releasing the “true record” standings once every month (each division will get their own post each month). Expect the first post sometime in early December.

For now, let me know your thoughts. Do you like the idea of “true record”? How do you feel about shootouts as a game-deciding event?

Taylor Gaines can be reached at TGaines@hookedonhockey.com or on Twitter @GainesTaylor.

Taylor Gaines
Tampa Bay Lightning fan pursuing a career as a journalist at the University of Florida.
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