Saturday, 10 December 2011

What's The Point NHL?

"You play to win the game." - Herman Edwards, Former Head Coach, Kansas City Chiefs

Not enough NHL board of directors, GMs, players and coaches have come around to facing this reality in professional sports. It is only in the months of March and April that these stakeholders (including fans) realize that the present points system for wins and loses is completely outdated and flawed. Teams jockeying to qualify for the playoffs seem to play for crucial points by just getting a point in regulation and just skating off to put it the bank regardless if they win.

Fans are always anxious to put forth their own recommendations for a system would be fair and equitable, at least to their favourite team.

Here is my suggestion: toss the points system and just go with: Wins, Loses, Games Behind and Winning Percentage, regardless of when the game is won. If a team loses in overtime or in a shoot-out, they are awarded “Nothing”. Under this system, we will not be subjected to the dopey line that is given by some players in post-game interviews, "Well, at least we got a point." Sounds like a high school punk getting a 60% on an exam, going home and telling his/her parents, "Well, at least I passed".

Isn't the benchmark in professional sports about the number of wins that a team or an athlete racks up at the end of the season?

Of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, (sorry MLS fans), the NHL is the only league that uses a points system to qualify teams for its post season. I can just hear NHL fans saying, "Ian, you're nuts. You can't change the system; it has been a part of the NHL for decades”. Well, so did the red-line and tell me where it is now? With the adoption of the new conference re-alignment format, my suggestion could have been implemented; however, the league will never consider it in a million years. Here’s my theory and it may seem obvious to some, but it is worth highlighting.

It is question of economics folks. The NHL is and will be always be a gate-driven revenue league and depends on "fans" to fill the arenas for 41 dates. The current points system provides fans a false sense of hope thinking that their teams situated at the bottom of the conference standing are still in the playoff hunt. As a result, fans will continue to buy tickets on the premise that there is still "hope".

If the NHL is confident in fan sport support in all of their 30 markets, the board of directors would get rid of the silly points system and stop promoting a mediocre product between the months of October and mid-April. The product on the ice is much better in the playoffs when winning and losing matters and competing for points is an afterthought.

Final Taughts

What could have been with Loria? - Has anyone noticed how much money the Miami Marlins have been spending on free agents? I can't stop thinking about what could have been with Jeffrey Loria still owning the Expos. Say what you will about his hand in the demise of the ball club, he was able to get a new 37 000 seat stadium in Miami and spend cash on players. The Marlins franchise was in the same situation as the Expos (minus the two World Series championships): 1) Attendance issues, 2) Playing in an awful stadium for baseball and 3) Fire sales of impact players.

Decades of mismanagement of the Habs. You would think that selling out 41 dates and winning 24 Stanley Cups would be worth something? Apparently not that much for the Canadiens. The recent acquisition of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment by Rogers and BCE prompted me to look up the valuation of the Toronto Maple Leafs. According to Forbes, the Leafs are valued at $521 million versus $445 million for the Habs. If the Habs are constantly being compared to the Yankees, then Habs executives have a long way to go in terms of maximizing the value of their asset on the ice. No doubt this has to be something on Geoff Molson's "To Do" list after decades of mismanagement of the Habs.

No comments:

Post a Comment