The Florida Panthers should be counting their blessings the NHL point system is broken.
The Panthers, who have missed the playoffs since the Toronto Maple Leafs were a contender, are capitalizing on the idiotic point system the NHL has implemented for the better part of the last decade. The League awards teams with a point if the game is taken past the 60 minute regulation. Even if a team surrenders a goal with 4:59 left in the overtime, they still receive a point.
The Panthers have accumulated 16 points via the loser’s point this season. Their 37 wins — six of which in the shootout — ranks them last among the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference, three behind the Washington Capitals, the team chasing them for the Southeast Division crown.
This isn’t a knock against the Panthers as much as it’s a red flag against the League itself for instituting such a horrid scoring system that rewards mediocrity and disguises it as parody. Florida has been a great story this year, sparking interest in the sport back in the Sunshine State. It would be a lie to claim its a team that deserves to be in the position it is currently in.
The Panthers are playing within the system, albeit a broken one. One of the biggest issue for some fans — myself included — entering into the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations is the point system. No team in any league in any sport should be rewarded in defeat. The point allows teams to be complacent in a tied game in the final period, watering down the product for the fans.
If the League feels strongly enough about the losers point, a regulation or overtime win should translate to three points in the standings, with just one point being awarded for a loss past regulation.
Does the extra point allow more teams remain in the race later, giving fans more games worth watching? There’s no question. But at what price? If you scratch the surface, the League is stuffed with mediocre to below-average squads being presented as faux contenders. Parody is good, but creating it at the expense of rewarding poor performances isn’t the way to capture it.
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