Isles-Rangers: Don’t Hate the Playa, HATE the Game !! A Birthday Boy’s Wish…
By Scotty Bonner
Uniondale-N.Y. Hats off, bravo, magnifique !! To both OrganIzations last night for providing all of us with what was truly an excellent, hard fought, entertaining 60 minutes of hockey! We all knew coming into the evening that it was a big one, with a recipe to be a dandy, and the boys didn’t disappoint, we all got our monies worth last night! That is until the regulation horn sounded.
Never one to let an opportunity slip away, I have been screaming for years about the utter disgustingness of the NHL overtime format, and last night’s contest was just one of thousands, upon thousands that have proven me right over the years. After what was one of the best Islander-Ranger games in years to see it end as it did… I just can’t take it any longer !!!
Now I must present to you this fact. Sure I’m displeased that the Isles “lost” to the Rangers last night 2-1 in overtime. Of course I am, how could I be a fan, and be devoid of these emotions? But I want this stated clear before we go any further, the Rangers earned the win, they deserve the 2 points. The Isles had plenty of chances to make it 2-0, and they didn’t. It’s the system that has left a far worse taste in my mouth then the “loss”.
I would like to please point out that I sent out this facebook message below prior to the start of overtime last night. I tell you this, so that any Ranger fan who reads this piece will know that I am not “bitter” about the fact that we “lost” last night, as I had to explain till my finger tips swelled the likes of which I haven’t experienced since the Yars Revenge debut of ’82… But I digress… I am however very bitter with Gary Bettman, and the NHL itself.
Sent 3/7/13 Just before overtime: Scotty Bonner facebook: “Win or lose now it doesn’t matter cause 4-4 non sudden death, and skills competition is crap garbage hockey ! Should be 5-5 sudden death u get scored on u get nothing this crap sucks !”
A bit crass, and I apologize for that, however now you see the reason I chose to sleep this one off before posting my piece.. Stay classy San Diego.
But I meant every word I said ! As Islander fans, or Ranger fans, or hockey fans do we not deserve so much better? I mean what a fantastic contest we saw last night from two of the leagues historic rivals. Only to be left with this overtime system to decide it, is to me insulting. To have the game’s very integrity be diminished, and tossed aside as though it were nothing more then a marketing scheme is unacceptable, and must be remedied by the drop of the puck next season.
Stop rewarding failure:
For years the NHL had a problem: What to do about their ties? In the past, if two teams were tied after 60 minutes of regulation they would then play a 5 minute 5-on-5 sudden death overtime stanza. Should either team score in those 5 minutes they would be given the win, and awarded 2 points in the standings. The team scored upon would receive the loss, and receive 0 points for their efforts. If at the end of the 5 minute sudden death overtime stanza both teams were still tied, both would receive a tie, and a point in the standings, game over, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. This was deemed unacceptable.
The league wanted to do away with ties (not just because they confuse Stephen A Smith), they felt them to be problematic for the “casual fan”. So they then, some years back, came up with this solution (if you wish to call it that, that is of course your prerogative, but since this is a family friendly web site I shall refrain from calling it what it truly is).
In today’s game should both teams be tied after 60 minutes of regulation, each team then receives a point for almost winning. They then play a 5 minute sudden mediocrity overtime stanza, in which, should a team score the “game winner”, they receive the win, and 2 points in the standings, while the team scored upon, is awarded a point for losing, and an overtime loss in the standings.
Now, here’s the real kick to the ‘ole groin, they play this overtime 4-on-4 rather than the 5-on-5. Then should both teams remain tied after the 5 minutes of 4-on-4 sudden mediocrity, they now have a shoot-out for the final (3rd) point. The winner of the shootout receives the win and 2 points in the standings, the shootout loser gets 1 point, and an overtime loss in the standings. All this to, keep in mind, eliminate the tie from the league. Now I know none of this is new, but it is so ridiculous when you actually read the format again with your own eyes, it just hits home again.
Confused yet? yeah try explaining this to your 6 yr old. “Yes son the Isles lost, but… Because it was in overtime they still receive a point.” “But Daddy you said they lost?” “Son, how bout we get some iced cream?” That is, as a father your only hope of explaining this disaster to your 6 year old. When I sit with him to explain the birds and the bees it’ll be less confusing, and less detrimental to his psyche then explaining Bettman’s overtime system, but I digress…
Ok I will now give you this time to take a Tylenol, Advil, shot of whisky, or herbal refreshment, whatever you need to remedy the headache that reading how the NHL awards overtime points undoubtedly gave you.
There are so many things wrong with this point system, it is literally mind boggling. First off, if you were to attend a Yankee-Red Sox game and, the Yanks won 5-4 in 10 innings do the Sox get anything? Of course not that would be… What’s a good word for stupid? Or perhaps a Knick-Celtic game that the Knickerbockers pull out in OT, what do the Celtics get?
The very idea of losing a professional sports contest, but still being rewarded anything is to me, an insult to society as a whole. It’s like we are at a Jr. high gym class, somewhere in Oregon, where they don’t keep score, don’t play dodge ball, and no one ever loses. If the other team scores more than you do, you lose. The rewarding of failure must not be tolerated!
As with all bad ideas, they not only have a negative effect on their intended targets, but they also have negative unintended consequences on many other fronts, causing widespread collateral damage. And this case of stupidity, is certainly no exception.
What the NHL did not foresee in their infinite wisdom was that teams would begin to simply play for the guarantee of the 1 point that a regulation tie promises, rather than play aggressively to get the 2 point regulation win.
What began to happen, and now has become the norm is that around the 10-12 minute mark of any 3rd stanza should the game be tied, teams begin to shut down, send in less fore checkers, and play for the tie (especially road teams). So rather than the fast and furious final 10 minutes with each team pressing for the game winner. We get teams mentally saying “hey let’s not blow the one point we have, let’s play it safe.” “I don’t wanna lose what I got!”
Leaving us, the fans forced to witness boring, dump & change, trap hockey in what should have been the most exciting portion of the game. This has done catastrophic damage to the product on the ice.
Another unintended, negative side effect of this point scoring system has been the effect it has had on the standings, especially now in this an abbreviated season. Now, with the possibility of 3 points being awarded in each game every night it has made it so much more difficult for a team to either move up, or more importantly catch up in standings.
It’s so much more difficult to catch a team in the standings when the most you can get is 2 points while the team you are chasing can get 1 point for losing. It’s even worse, when the two teams you may be chasing (remember, I’m an Islander fan, we do a lot of chasing in the standings) play one another, and 3 points are awarded in that particular game. It becomes nearly impossible to catch up. Only the NHL would switch to a Conference playoff system to keep more teams “in it” down the stretch, while simultaneously sabotaging teams chances of climbing back into a playoff spot.
Mathematically the system itself is flawed. You cannot allow for the possibility of 3 points to be distributed when the maximum any one team can get on any given night is 2 points. Mathematically this simply doesn’t make any sense. When the NHL adopted this ridiculousness, it should have rewarded the possibility for one team to acquire 3 points a game, whether by regulation win or otherwise, it’s irrelevant. The fact that the very best a team can do on any given night is earn 2 points where 3 are so readily available, and distributed is in a word “shambles”.
As a lifelong hockey player, coach, and official the very idea of playing 4-on-4 on the professional level is appalling. Hockey is played 5 on 5, and the notion that 4 on 4 would generate a more exciting, back and forth, offensive minded overtime has failed.
Not because 4 on 4 hockey doesn’t yield more offensive opportunity, of course it does. But rather, it’s the fact that without the specter of “sudden death” the atmosphere of excitement that was overtime hockey has been removed. Only to be replaced by a bizarre, unnatural feeling left in the building, should either team score in the extra stanza. You could play 3 on 3 or 7 on 7 it is irrelevant without the possibility of losing everything the extra stanza has been emasculated.
And then there is this, when a power play is awarded in this overtime (like last night) the team now has a 4 on 3 advantage rather than a 5 on 4 power play. This might seem minor, but this subtle difference completely changing the dynamics of the power play opportunity. A 4 on 3 is a much greater advantage than the conventional 5 on 4 man advantage on the ice.
Just watch the overtime winner from last night, look at the ridiculous amount of room out there, look at Marian Gaborik as he waltzes in untouched into the high slot, because there are only 3 Islanders available to defend against it. This just isn’t hockey!
The fact that the opportunity presented in a power play is so greatly changed is one thing, the fact that this change directly affects a team gaining or losing a point in the standings is just wrong! Players willingly, give up their bodies night after night, laying on the ice to block a 100 mph slap shots, or crash headfirst into boards that have no give, all just to earn points in the standings for their respective organIzations.
To then turn around and so frivolously distribute these precious points cheapens, and diminishes the players sacrifices, and attacks the very integrity of the game itself. Leaving us fans repeatedly, shaking our heads in bewilderment and disgust.
I think we all know how I feel about the current overtime point system, but what kind of leader would I be if I only stated the problems, offering you no solutions? Here is my point awarding system, I only hope it shall live up to your standards.
IF I WERE KING
You win in regulation, you get 2 points. Should the teams be tied after 60 minutes of action, no one gets a thing, because no one has earned a thing. After regulation there will be a 5 on 5 sudden death overtime for 7.5 minutes. Should a team score they get 2 points, should a team be scored upon, they get zilch, because they lost.
Then at the end of the extra stanza, if neither team has scored, then each will be awarded a well earned point. At this time I feel the contest is for all intensive purposes a draw, and each team then deserves something for their efforts. Now, if overtime has ended in a tie the teams will then have a shoot out for the extra point. To the winner of the shootout goes a win, and 2 points in the standings. The loser gets 1 point, and a Shootout loss in the standings.
I know this is still “mathematically” unsound as stated above, but 3 points are much less readily awarded here then in the prior system. I myself would do away with the shootout, but I can concede that I am in the minority on this one. People love the shoot out, and it’s a fact that it is here to stay.
This point awarding system would: return exciting 3rd period hockey, increase upward mobility in the standings, eradicate the disease that is the reward of failure, restore integrity to the game, and most importantly be much easier to explain to my 6 year old, all the while achieving the league’s initial goal of eliminated the “tie”. You are welcome.
If this system in place today so were right, if it were correct, then please someone answer me why than don’t we play 4-on-4 hockey in playoff overtime games? WHY? Because 4-on-4 is not hockey that’s why! And if it is not good enough for the post season, then it isn’t good enough for the regular season.
Cause sooner or later there will come a day be it the 82nt or 48th game of the year where the fate of a team’s entire season will be left to 4-on-4 exhibition hockey, and we, the players, and the very game itself deserve so much more! Fix it now!!
Quick Game Notes:
- Islander fans we have got to be pleased with the effort, we went toe to toe with them for 60 minutes and left nothing on the table. If we can have last night’s performance the rest of the way then, start printing those playoff tickets.
- Casey Cizikas is the real deal, what a really nice 2 way centerman he is rounding out to be. Winning 5/8 face-offs last night to boot.
- The Islander power play went…well… never mind…
- We must match last night’s effort in what is now a huge 2 days coming up Sat, and Sunday vs the Caps, and Pens respectably. These next 2 will determine if we are in the playoff discussion to stay or just here for a cup ‘o Joe.
- Please keep an “eye” out for my up coming mission statement: “If I were King” a simple 17 point plan to bring the NHL to the peak, the pinnacle, the very paramount from which it should be perched upon.. Coming this summer.
- Would not a game like last night be awesome on say 1/1/16 at Citi Field ?? Just Sayin…
Side note: Today is my 40th birthday, and as the birthday boy I feel the NHL, and Gary Bettman have to grant me my birthday wish of 5-on-5 sudden death overtime hockey.
Best Game Eva !!
Trying to capture the Spirit of the Thing.
P.S. Have a Nice Day !! :0)
Follow Scotty @moosiesmoose42
And don’t forget to upload the new Fansided APP so not to miss and “eyes” piece ever again… Which is nice…