In any discussion of changes the NHL wants to make to its scoring system or scoring system, it must be remembered that the league has no interest in finding ways to separate the good teams from the bad. The league likes that very few teams are ever actually below .500 (only 10 of the 32 have records that look below .500 now). It’s like any casual fan will see a team just three or four points out of a playoff spot or division lead and conclude they must be close, even though three or four points are incredibly difficult to make up in the standings. They think it sells tickets and gets people to watch. GMs like it because it keeps them from looking quite as stupid as they probably are. They really have to go out of their way not to be “in it”.
In that context is how possible changes to the already scam overtime must be viewed. If the goal of the NHL is to see fewer games go to a shootout, then the best way would be to get rid of the shootout, because that is by far the stupidest way to end a hockey game. The NHL thought 3-on-3 would turn into a free-for-all, chaotic circus full of highlights, forgetting that NHL coaches will almost always find a way to take the heat out of things and lower the percentages to make games less random. They would never trade 2-on-1s back and forth if they could help it, which they have. Teams can now hold on to the puck for minutes at a time until they get the look they want because there is simply too much ice to cover for the defensive team to get it back.
The GMs discuss a shot clock or not allowing teams to voluntarily leave the zone with the puck, but there are no 3-on-3 saves. It was a gimmick of jump street and determining standings, places and play-off places on a gimmick has always been galactically stupid.
Yes, 3-on-3 can and has produced highlights that go viral. But this is manufactured heat. If MLB institutes a rule that pitchers are only allowed to throw fastballs after the ninth inning, it’s likely that Aaron Judge will hit one very far. And it’s cool to see Judge hit baseballs 480 feet. But what makes it more impressive is when he has to do it without knowing what pitch is coming and figure out what’s coming in the blink of an eye, not a leg is given up and half the work is taken out of his hands.
Soccer has overtaken NHL in popularity, so clearly the sports audience has come to terms with ties. The NHL long ago had to go to three points for a win, one for a tie and move on with their lives, but it lives on the false parity that the losing point provided it. The NHL didn’t realize that 3-on-3 takes out the bottom and most of the middle of the NHL roster, leveling teams. Almost every team can throw out three very good players that can end a game, which is not the point of a game and league that likes to present itself as the ultimate team game because everyone gets a shift.
But the league wants the standings artificially compressed, and will keep its everybody-gets-a-trophy system. It will just keep tweaking the edges to make it even dumber, even when the answers are so obvious. MLS has figured out that its fans can handle tires. The NHL doesn’t even think that much of its fans.
Sidney Crosby’s act never gets old
Anyway, to the good side of hockey. Sidney Crosby has probably scored this type of goal 200 times or whatever, and yet it’s still amazing every time he does it:
The precision required from that angle that he only gets a split second to calculate and execute, from Erik Karlsson’s bullet pass, to get it top shelf is astonishing. No one else in the league scores this goal and Sid does it a handful of times a season.
Anyway, Crosby again has 19 points in 11 games, at age 36 and in his 18th season.
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