When you don't win or lose in regulation time in the National Hockey League, do you suffer a loss, a non-loss, an unacknowledged tie or is it just out there somewhere?
That's what fans and media in Buffalo are asking after the Sabres went through some kind of recent 10-game negative streak.
Because the Sabres didn't win or tie, local media took to calling the skid a 10-game
"It's not a losing streak," said NHL chief statistician
Indeed it isn't. The NHL revamped its standings when it added the shootout coming out of the 2004-05 lockout. Since the start of 2005-06, any defeat in overtime or in the shootout goes into a third category in the standings called OT. The Sabres have used the recent ruling to tout the fact that they were 0-5-5 in their recent 10-game winless streak, which is different than a 10-game losing streak because they would have to lose 10 in a row in regulation to be on such a slide.
So it's win, loss or OT, but the problem has been that most people find the NHL standings harder to decipher than locating a game on the Versus network.
Some newspapers print wins, losses and OT. Some print OT wins when a team gets the full two points. Some print OT losses where the team didn't get the win, and since there are no longer ties, they consider them games in which a point was rewarded simply for not winning. It's exceptionally confusing to the average fan and even the sophisticated ones because the NHL no longer recognizes unbeaten streaks (the old run of wins and ties but no losses). Teams do have winning streaks, losing streaks and unbeaten streaks (which appear to be the same as undefeated streaks except that winning in OT or a shootout is worth two points instead of the old one for a tie).
Confused? Most people are.
Did you expect anything less from the league that in 1999 gave you a Stanley Cup champion -- against Buffalo no less -- via a goal scored off a play that was illegal in the rule book, yet legal in a clarification memo put out before the start of the playoffs but not released to the general public?
Now, when you watch a team walk off the ice after the other has won in OT or a shootout, the players usually have their heads down, their coach is dismayed and their goalie is kicking at snow piles en route to the bench. In other words, if the other team scores more goals than you do and walks off with two points, well, if it looks like a loss, smells like a loss, and the players in the locker room will talk like it was a loss. But to the NHL and Sabres management, that's a non-win.To everyone else, you got beat. Why else do you think everyone calls it the "loser" point?
The irony of all of this is that if you ran the standings with two points for a win and nothing for a loss (meaning teams lose in regulation or the shootout and get nothing for their efforts, the standings wouldn't change very much. The only thing that would be noticeably different would be the fact that the Sabres would have established a franchise record for consecutive losses. If that were Buffalo's only problem, the team would be a happy bunch of non-winners indeed.
The Sabres stopped their 10-game whatever streak with a stunning 10-2 triumph in regulation time vs. the visiting Atlanta Thrashers in HSBC Arena, then went north to Toronto to lose to the Leafs. Buffalo fell again two nights later in Phoenix. The Sabres went to Dallas for their last game before the All-Star break and were skidding badly. The team that won the 2006-07 President's Trophy with the most points in the regular season is plummeting toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference and the overall standings. As of Thursday morning Buffalo had fewer points than the Leafs, the team that beat them on Saturday night and then fired their general manger,
Oddly enough, or perhaps not, the standings on the NHL website Thursday stated the Sabres were ahead of the Leafs in the Northeast Division, Eastern Conference and overall despite the fact that while listed in 27th position, Buffalo is said to have 46 points on 20 wins, 21 losses and 6 OTs while the Leafs, in 28th, have 48 points on 20 wins, 22 losses and 8 OTs.
New Jersey Devils goaltender
Look, family concerns are understandable (though April does seem a long way from January), but these are the respective starters in goal for the Eastern and Western Conference teams. At least
The NHL has made it too easy to skip the All-Star Game. Even Devils coach
Many players schedule mini-vacations during the All-Star break and escape to the islands or some Disney property with their families while their "star" mates, the guys who could actually use a little R&R (both Brodeur and Luongo are likely to play 70 or more games this season) have to fly around North America, dress and play a single period in which they likely will face more shots than in any two regular season games combined and then fly somewhere to rejoin their team all while their families pine for Mickey and Minnie Mouse or at least a trip to the family time share in the Caribbean.
My advice: Can the game. Send everyone off for a much needed break. But the reality is that advertisers must be feted and fans in the city in which the game is played truly cherish the event, so the least that can be done is to make it worth watching.
Fill the penalty box with cash and tell both sides it's a winner-take-all with the MVP of each side getting a bonus grab. No matter how much an athlete makes in any sport, the prospect of diving into a pile of cash in excess of a million bucks has a tendency to entice. For that kind of long green, even
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The NHL and NBC built the Winter Classic around Crosby even though the Penguins were the visiting team. The league was doing the same for the All-Star Game when Crosby got hurt and had to pull out.
That's the problem with concentrating on one star. More than a few players were having better overall seasons then Crosby when he went down, but you can bet NBC isn't salivating over the prospect of a
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If the NHL is such a hot property, why is it so difficult to close the deal on the sale of a team in the post-lockout era, the era when all things are supposed to be good again on the business side of the NHL ledger?
The Nashville Predators had to cobble together a group of owners in order to settle with the departing
The NHL might not be anything in the U.S., especially on television, but because of the rise in oil prices, and the value of the Canadian dollar, Edmonton is booming. With a new arena on the drawing board, a team, even a team in one of the smallest of NHL markets, is a good buy in Canada. That's not exactly the case in Nashville, where the Predators still struggle to reach the minimum attendance numbers necessary to keep the lease intact.
Trashed by seemingly everyone in Ottawa and across the NHL for his questionable antics on and off the ice just a few weeks ago, goalie Ray Emery is making a comeback with the Senators.
This week, coach
Emery has gotten his life and game back on track, but Gerber has had a hand in it as well. He's stumbled after his 12-1 start, opening the door for Emery who, for the record, goaled the team to the Stanley Cup Final last spring largely by himself because Gerber was playing like a Tampa Bay castoff.
What it all amounts to is that the job is there for the goalie who wants it most. In the past, Gerber has shown that he didn't. If that's the case this time around, Emery, thought to be mentally tougher than Gerber, could well be No. 1 again.