Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bruins Working Overtime...and Shootouts

Since the advent of the three point game, it seems like the end of the year sends analysts and fans scurrying to the calculator to determine what, if any, impact that extra point has on the ultimate playoff standings. And year after year the conclusion remains the same - the impact is minimal at best.

This year, however, it could be something to take a look at. If the Capitals don't make the playoffs they can first and foremost blame themselves - many games should have been won, points were lost here and there on stupid mistakes, etc. But you almost always need a little help from the teams around you when you're in the thick of a logjam, and the Caps haven't really gotten that to this point.

One of the biggest culprits in the "thanks for not helping" category? The Boston Bruins.

Photo courtesy of AP
It's not the sheer volume of overtime and shootout visits that is killing us, although with 19 appearances in the extra frame they do rank among the top five in the league - Edmonton, not surprisingly, leads the way with 24. And it's not the fact that they're gaining a point for each overtime or shootout loss, although with 11 loser points (tied with the Sabres) compared with the Caps' 8 you've got your margin of error for eighth place right there.

No, it's the way they go about racking up loser points and overtime winners and shootout victories. 19 times the Bruins have needed overtime or a shootout - 13 of those have come against teams the Caps are currently chasing or being chased by.

And 8 of them have been Boston wins.

So not only are they creating three point games, always annoying, but they're winning them in the end. That's a point gifted to one of our opponents that, had the Bruins developed a killer instinct, would not have been earned. Observe:

10/20 - Boston 1 NYR 0 (SO)
11/1 - Boston 4 Buffalo 3 (OT)
11/7 - Buffalo 2 Boston 1 (OT)
1/12 - Boston 4 Philadelphia 3 (OT)
1/17 - Toronto 3 Boston 2 (SO)
1/19 - Boston 4 NYR 3 (SO)
2/8 - Boston 3 Buffalo 2 (SO)
2/16 - Toronto 4 Boston 3 (OT)
2/19 - Boston 3 Carolina 2 (SO)
2/21 - Boston 5 Florida 4 (SO)
3/4 - Florida 1 Boston 0 (OT)
3/9 - NYR 1 Boston 0 (SO)
3/15 - Boston 3 Philadelphia 2 (OT)

In comparison, the Flyers have only been on the winning end of these three point games twice. Buffalo has done it three times. Toronto has five wins. Annoying, sure. Back-breaking? Not even close.

So thank you, Boston. Thanks for nothing.


usually frustrated caps fan said...

Caps Chick - I think it's important for people to understand clearly it's the winner (not the loser) of a three point game who gets "the new/extra/undeserved" point. Prior to the implemtation of this gimmick, the game would have ended a tie with both teams getting just one point.

Your point that the Bruins have created more of these opportunities is right on. Though it may not be clear to all readers that the "winner" of an OT game or SO is the one who got an undeserved point.

CapsChick said...

Well, yes and no. An overtime finish has always resulted in two points for the winner and since 1999 one point for the loser. So I don't consider that an undeserved point so much as it is just...annoying. If the Bruins could finish teams off in regulation instead of requiring overtime they wouldn't be picking up two points while also giving their opponent a point for losing.

In the shootout, however, I agree with you. It is an undeserved point and absolutely the wrong way to determine the outcome of a team game.

...but that's a discussion for another day. ;)

dmg said...

Where part of the frustration comes in is watching two team in front of whatever team you're rooting for pick up an aggregate of three points in one game. That, coupled with the fact that a team now gets a point for losing in overtime and that winning in a shootout is just a good as winning in regulation, it frustrating.

One interesting proposal would be to do what the Swedish and German leagues do: award 3 points for a regulation win, 2 for an overtime/shootout win, 1 for an overtime/shootout loss and 0 for a regulations loss. I doubt it would ever take hold in North America, but it's something to consider.

I've been wanting to throw together a post about what team's records would be under this format but I can't find anywhere that lists results and indicated OTW and I don't want to go though hundreds and hundreds of box scores to look for them. Any suggestions anyone?

Chris & Sarah said...

The Hockey News provides a summary of game scores under it's schedule, which might help. Not a score OT / SO type summary, more period by period score, but might be a little bit easier than going through box scores to figure out what happened.

The other option is to go to each team's website to get the season's game scores.

CapsChick said...

Actually there's a better way - I use this site, which has results for every team, every season, every postseason, etc. You can also find out what the standings were on any given day of any season and it indicates OT and SO wins and losses pretty clearly.

The only thing that bugs me about it is that they spell "Capitals" wrong, but I can live with that ;)