Bettman points. The shootout. Loser points. Call 'em what you want, but the extra points added to NHL games by Gary Bettman in an attempt to "increase viewership" are probably one of the most oft-discussed and maligned additions to the NHL this side of Sean Avery. While Bettman has claimed the extra points don't affect the actual standings at the end of the year, they have the tendency to create the false sense of parity, or just a sense of parody as I read someone comment somewhere (might have been here, don't remember who). So, you must be saying, do they actually affect the standings to a significant degree? Or is Mr. Bettman correct that things would "all work out in the wash" as I hear people say (my mom). Let's take a look at the situation now...
First off we'll need to define what exactly a "Bettman point" is, and how what kind of system we're going to bring in (or back) to replace it. I'm going to suggest (and do, because this is my post and I'll do whatever I want) that the Shootout is cut, 2 points are awarded for a win, no points are awarded for a loss (even in OT), and 1 point is awarded for a tie after OT. We'll assume there's some amount of overtime - 5 mins, 10 mins, 4 on 4, 5 on 5, whatever.
I've seen other people define the Bettman point differently, like Quisp over at Jewels from the Crown. In his calculations, he just removes the loser point from OT losses and Shootout losses, but keeps shootout wins. I don't think that's a good way to go about it, because the Shootout is pretty much tied to the notion of Bettman points. Also it makes the Kings look really good because they are 5-0 in the shootout. Anyways. No shootout for you.
So, to get the new standings we have to do the following:
Wins = previous Wins - SO wins
Losses = previous losses + OTL - SO losses (OTL = total points from OT and SO losses)
Ties = SO wins + SO losses
Doing this, and projecting out to the end of the year, gives us a very very interesting result (not for us, we're still amazing):
That's right kids (and senior citizens), Minnesota would be in 4th (!!!!) place with no shootouts and OTL points. I could not believe it, I thought my numbers had to be wrong. But if you look at it, it makes sense. The Wild have gone 0-4 in the shootout, and with only 5 OTLs have only one other OT loss in there. So their wins are not affected at all by converting SO wins to ties, and they're only saddled with one more loss. Whereas most of the teams in front of them lose a large percentage of their points because of the all the SO wins forfeited (cough Nashville cough).
So, to conclude, if the playoffs come around and Minny is on the outside looking in, they have some pretty solid reasons to be pissed about the Shootouts and Bettman points. Nashville, on the other hand, should be sending Gary some nice flowers or chocolates.