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Tony Gallagher lays it down

Tony Gallagher has brought up a good point on the online Province.
Almost everyone is lamenting the way the Vancouver Canucks are playing these days and rightfully so.

But the moaning would be twice as loud if this team wasn't part of the Everything is Wonderful League, where no breach of the rules is worthy of suspension and 21 out of the 30 teams playing are .500 or better.

Last Saturday morning, believe it or not, there were 24 teams .500 or better, but that was Gary's Wonderland at its zenith.

How is this possible? Just check the standings. Only two of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference are under the magic marker and just seven in the Western Conference, a sleight of hand set up by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to make most of the general managers in this league look competent, he having had a hand in the hiring of so many of them.

The way it works is obvious, of course: Overtime and shootout wins go into the win column whereas losses in the same competition get pawned off not as losses, but in two other columns called overtime and shootout losses. The effects of this listing works wonders for teams' public relations when records are mentioned, everyone thinking 'well at least our team is .500' when in fact nothing could be farther from the truth.
Take the Canucks' situation, for example. In the standings as they appeared in Tuesday's paper, they are one of the nine teams under the .500 mark -- but only one game under.

But what is the real situation? The Canucks have won five games in overtime and the shootout combined, which is great and full marks for playing well in such situations.

But if those games simply counted as ties as they did before overtime, this team would be six games under .500, having played just 27. Given that they've already had two games each against a mangled Chicago, and two more against St. Louis and Columbus, that record is not just a bit off, it's appalling.

Yikes. For more of Mr. Reality's rant, check out the online Province.