7-17. That's what (as of this moment) is keeping the Caps from their 5th consecutive Southeast Division title. 17 loser points by Florida has them 3 points ahead of the Caps, while having won 5 fewer games in regulation and overtime (ROW). So... Blame the shootout, right? Yes. (and no...)
How about, blame the conference standings standings. The way I see it, there are three issues that will need to be resolved, to allow us to get to a "fairer" (in my eyes, obviously) playoff seeding system, and yet still be acceptable to the league.
- Shootouts are popular, they need to still have value
- Shootouts should not have as much of a say in who goes to the playoffs, and what seed they are.
- The 3-point system for games is the least offensive to the league and needs to stay.
Fine. Here's the new plan that solves all three.
- Seed all teams by ROW
- Continue to keep track of the total points a team gets (including the shootout points and loser points)
- Use total points as a tie-breaker for playoff seeding
Thus, the Conferences will look like this:
And out West...
- The two losers in the East are clearly Florida and New Jersey. Florida doesn't get the value of it's 17 OT/SO loses and New Jersey doesn't get the value of it's 12 (TWELVE!) shootout wins.
- Winners in the East are Caps and Tampa Bay (who, in the current system, get no respect for 33 ROWs)
- Out West, Dallas is a big winner (benefiting from 35 ROWs), but everyone else settles in to pretty much the same spot (minus a few positions shuffled here and there).
- The x and y for division and playoffs clinched may be wrong, I didn't look too hard into that part.
I personally think these seedings look much closer to what the sniff test tells me is the correct seeding of the best teams. And the best part about this system, teams would have a HUGE disincentive to settle for the tie in regulation and would have a monster incentive to GO FOR THE WIN!
Isn't that what we want the system to encourage... going for the win. 4 on 4 in OT was a good step in the right direction, I think ROW as the standing decider would be an even bigger push towards exciting hockey.