If you understand the title of this blog, and if you are here reading my musings you probably do, you know exactly what the title referees to. If you don't well here it is, in the NHL during the regular season some games count for two points and some games count for three points in the standings, and well that just , well ... makes no sense at all. Until a couple of years ago every game counted for two points in the standings, win get two points, tie each team gets one point. But hey someone decided , we hockey fans hated ties and in every game there had to be a winner and a loser, so the solution was ... now get this, if a game ends in regulation in a tie, each team still splits the two original points, but then gets to play first a 5:00 overtime at 4 on 4 and if that doesn't result in a winner they do a shootout - basically the NHL's version of a layup completion for an extra point and the one who wins that is the "winner" of that game, with the one who loses it getting the consolation prize - keeping the "looser" point they already won. And just to make sure they make it clear how dumb they know we fans think this skills competition to decide the winner of a team sport game is, if at the end of a season two teams are tied in the standings the first "tiebreaker" is the total number of Regulation and 4 on 4 overtime wins in the season.
However this past week in the NHL, especially if you are a Capitals fan, the ludicrousity of the current way things are done couldn't be driven home to you more with an 8# sledgehammer. First our Capitals take part in and loose a 20 round shootout in Florida, now remember one of the so called excuses for the shootout vice a longer 4 on 4 OT or following the 4 on 4 with a 3 on 3 is well it takes too long. So that really short 20 round shootout, that was the way to go right? And now we had last night, the Caps are "on the bubble" battling the NY Rangers for third in the Division, they basically owned their opponent last night, the New Jersey Devils, especially for the last 40:00 of the game beating them in a 4-0 shutout. For their efforts they were awarded two standings points and New Jersey got no points. That makes sense right? Sure until you look at the game that was played between the Rangers and the Hurricanes last night in Raleigh, NC. There while the Rangers certainly did enough to earn a win, it too them a 3 round shoot out to get is so they too got two points last night just like the Capitals. My point is had all games been worth the same weight in the standings the Capitals would have edged one point further in front of the Rangers last night. In fact if a Regulation win was worth three points while the Metropolitan Division Standings would be the same then the Capitals would have 50 standings points to the Rangers 47 and we wouldn't need to keep track of "ROW" at all.
I could talk about last night's game in Newark more but it's been all over the web and NHLN all day so far. Here's five quick hit take away points from the game and the coverage:
1) Braden Holtby played very well and earned his shutout - 21 saves were required of him and several were very difficult to make.
2) Ovechkin's goal was one of those highlight reel Ovi goals we will see many times more and one of his best moves ever.
3) Nicklas Backstrom is an awesome hockey player too and it takes Ovi doing something like 2) above to cast even a small amount of shade on that fact from time to time.
4) This Mike Green guy ... really good at hockey as well, probably time for the Caps to figure out how to extend/resign him.
5) The entire Capitals team is now wholly invested in the new system under Barry Trotz and basically getting better every game they play at executing it.
But in the end this is just hockey not world peace we are talking about here so moving on to my next hockey musing, "How 'Bout dem Caps! anyways?" Playing 0.700 hockey in their last ten games and looking more and more like a very solid team every game they play. Next up are the Ottawa Senators, who are solidly on the bubble right now so that won't be an easy game, tomorrow night at DC's Verizon Center. Then on Tuesday night it's a trip up to Madison Square Garden to face those very same NY Rangers on Manhattan. Then after Christmas they face the Penguins in Pittsburgh on the 27th and the Islanders in Uniondale on the 29th before coming home for the Winter Classic on New Year's day here in DC. And I thought I had a busy holiday season planned, wheh!