FanPost

A treatise on the Loser Point, or How a Sabres Fan Learned to Stop Worrying and Love OT

I don't know about the rest of you, but I hate the loser point.  Though, I'm sure most Devils fans hate it right now since we're always praying for games to end in regulation.  I for one never liked it.  I always hated it.  For one, it devaules a regulation win.  It distorts the value of a game, since some are worth 3 points, and some are worth 2, the only difference being whether teams can settle the outcome in regulation or not.

In past seasons, the Devils never had to really worry about the loser point since we've safely made the playoffs for the past 13 seasons.  In that time, we've finished first 5 times (among 9 of 13 Division titles).  The lowest we've been seeded was 6, twice, but even then, in 2001-2002, we were 10 points up on the ninth place team, and in 2003-2004, we were 15 points up.  The closest we came to missing the playoffs was 2007-2008, when, as the #4 seed, we were 7 points up on #9.

But this year, after our appalling start, we've been forced to fight tooth and nail in the second half, and part of that reason is because of that atrocious loser point.

An interesting quirk of the loser point is that it inflates the so-called winning percentage.  In just the Eastern Conference, the average "winning percentage" is 55.06%, as approximately one-quarter of all games have been decided outside of regulation.  Only 20.5% of Devils games have been settled beyond regulation (only the Flyers, Bruins, Canadians, and Islanders have a lower percentage).  And that number just recently inflated as 4 of our 14 OT frames came in the past 5 games.

2,333 points have been up for grabs in 1,038 games played, placing the average points per game at 2.24759 (just among the Eastern Conference.  I didn't run any WC numbers).  This 2.25 number irks me because it completely devalues a victory.  It changes the whole dynamic of the game, encouraging teams to play it safe in the last few minutes of a tie game to get that guaranteed loser point.

So I ran two different scenarios for the EC.  The first scenario changes the way games are scored to a 3-point system.  3 points for a win in regulation, 2 points for a win in OT/SO, 1 point for losing in OT/SO, and zero for a good old-fashioned loss.

In this scenario, you can see that the Devils have moved up one spot in the standings and would sit only 7 points behind the Sabres for the final playoff spot, and 11 behind the Rangers for #7.  But it would be easier to catch them, since a 7 point deficit would only require less than 3 wins.  What I like about this point system is that every game is worth the same 3 points.  The average winning percentage of the EC is now 48.95% (it's below 50% because of losses to the WC being greater.  I would imagine the average WC percentage is 51.05%).

The second scenario also uses the same 3-point system, except now it only devalues the skills competition.  Wins, whether in regulation or OT, are worth 3 points.  Losses, whether in regulation or OT, are worth zero points.  Shootout wins only are worth 2 and SO losses are worth 1.  This places the value on winning by scoring during the actual playing time, not the silly little shootout.

Well, you can see why I would prefer this system.  This places the Devils in 9th in the Conference (tied with Carolina), thanks in part to Ilya Kovalchuk and our 7 overtime victories.  We would thus be only 4 points behind Buffalo now and only 8 behind the Rangers.

 

Eastern
DIV GP RW RL OTW OTL Pts Win % SO Win SO Loss OTW OTL

1 Philadelphia  ATL 68 37 19 5 7 128 62.75% 2 3 5 7

2 Boston  NE 68 36 21 2 9 121 59.31% 1 5 2 9

3 Washington  SE 70 30 20 10 10 120 57.14% 3 5 10 10

4 Pittsburgh  ATL 70 30 22 10 8 118 56.19% 5 3 10 8

5 Montreal  NE 69 32 24 6 7 115 55.56% 2 3 6 7

6 Tampa Bay  SE 70 25 22 14 9 112 53.33% 6 5 14 9

7 NY Rangers  ATL 70 25 30 11 4 101 48.10% 8 2 11 4

8 Buffalo  NE 69 21 27 13 8 97 46.86% 5 1 13 8  
9 Toronto  NE 70 24 30 6 10 94 44.76% 4 5 6 10

10 Carolina  SE 69 22 28 9 10 94 45.41% 4 5 9 10

11 New Jersey  ATL 68 22 32 10 4 90 44.12% 3 1 10 4

12 Atlanta  SE 69 16 28 13 12 86 41.55% 3 7 13 12

13 Ottawa  NE 69 24 35 1 9 83 40.10% 1 4 1 9

14 Florida  SE 69 18 32 10 9 83 40.10% 4 4 10 9

15 NY Islanders  ATL 70 17 32 10 11 82 39.05% 3 5 10 11

















Eastern
DIV GP ROTW RL SO W SOL Pts Win % SO Win SO Loss OTW OTL Extra W Extra L
1 Philadelphia  ATL 68 40 23 2 3 127 62.25% 2 3 3 4 5 7
2 Washington  SE 70 37 25 3 5 122 58.10% 3 5 7 5 10 10
3 Boston  NE 68 37 25 1 5 118 57.84% 1 5 1 4 2 9
4 Pittsburgh  ATL 70 35 27 5 3 118 56.19% 5 3 5 5 10 8
5 Tampa Bay  SE 70 33 26 6 5 116 55.24% 6 5 8 4 14 9
6 Montreal  NE 69 36 28 2 3 115 55.56% 2 3 4 4 6 7
7 NY Rangers  ATL 70 28 32 8 2 102 48.57% 8 2 3 2 11 4
8 Buffalo  NE 69 29 34 5 1 98 47.34% 5 1 8 7 13 8
9 New Jersey  ATL 68 29 35 3 1 94 46.08% 3 1 7 3 10 4
10 Carolina  SE 69 27 33 4 5 94 45.41% 4 5 5 5 9 10
11 Toronto  NE 70 26 35 4 5 91 43.33% 4 5 2 5 6 10
12 Atlanta  SE 69 26 33 3 7 91 43.96% 3 7 10 5 13 12
13 Florida  SE 69 24 37 4 4 84 40.58% 4 4 6 5 10 9
14 NY Islanders  ATL 70 24 38 3 5 83 39.52% 3 5 7 6 10 11
15 Ottawa  NE 69 24 40 1 4 78 37.68% 1 4 0 5 1 9

All FanPosts and FanShots are the respective work of the author and not representative of the writers or other users of In Lou We Trust.

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