Adjustments to the NHL's points system?

Adjustments to the NHL's points system?
February 13, 2012, 4:56 pm
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With the Sharks just beginning their Tour Of America and Bits Of Florida Too, you can already hear the faint whiff of complaining about a long trip in February, when the playoff races are just hotting up.You can also hear the folks in Anaheim complaining, because the Ducks have been one of the leagues best teams since turning Randy Carlyle into Bruce Boudreau while knowing it almost certainly wont matter come playoff time.
These are two separate problems that actually have the same solution, and since you probably need a pint of Everclear to get your head into it, we can wait.San Joses problem is a nine-game roadie in February. Chicago has the same problem, only slightly ameliorated by having a couple of one-day trips back home to burn luggage. Anaheims is that the current two-points for all wins, one for overtime and shootout losses dont allow for a lot of standings movement. Their slow start kills them even after theyve fixed the problem.RELATED: Sharks scheduleresults
Some smart folks are making noises about going to a three-point regulation win system that would increase all-important standings volatility. This wont happen any time soon because hockey moves with the speed and alacrity of an antique armoire.But if youre talking real change, heres what you might be after a system that rewards teams like Anaheim, who bloom late but bright.Put simply, here it is. For the first 25 games of any teams season, regulation wins are two points, overtime or shootout wins are one each, and all losses are zero. Being valiant in defeat is still defeat, and that winner-takes-some system means everyone goes home a little too happy.But for the last 57, the fun begins. Three points for a win, two for an overtime win, one for a shootout win, and nothing for losing. The game builds in pressure and anticipation, and so does the season. Its as close as a sport can come to Relegation Sunday, the greatest day in all of sports.Does this diminish games in October and November? Yes it does, in keeping with the general tone of the season as it is perceived even by those who play it. Everyone knows that games are bigger later in the season, even the coaches who say they all count the same.But that isnt the benefit here.The benefit is that crunch time starts in December rather than March, and going 10-22-6 to start the year like Anaheim did doesnt doom you before the fun starts. You get your business straightened out and you at least have a chance in March.Now how does this help the Sharks? Well, this system would make it incumbent upon the league to either give teams a nine-game road-trip before playoff season, or not at all. It means that franchises like Chicago and New York that like to book long-running shows in their arenas would have to rethink that idea, or get more creative about it.Either way, the standings chaos of February, March and April could only be good for the game, and long trips in February would not undermine a good start because there wouldnt be long trips in February especially since road trips are not created equal based on the laws of continental geography.Hey, its a thought. Unless what you were after was a Torrey Mitchell-for-Alexander Ovechkin trade rumor. For that, you need to see Comrade Kurz.Ray Ratto is a columnist for