Disclaimer: I've been thinking about this for a while. Even though the Flyers are somehow 2-1 in shootouts this year, I still like this idea enough to present it to you all.
Back in the not-so-hazy, lazy days of March 2009, the NHL's GMs met in Naples, Florida. While there, Detroit's Ken Holland suggested that regulation wins should carry more weight in the standings than shootout victories. Holland's proposal was meant to encourage extra effort in regulation, and I think it was also aimed at teams who "played for the shootout" once they got into overtime. (The Rangers were particularly egregious in this regard when Tom Renney was their coach, and it seemed to me that the Blues did the same tonight.)
I agree with Holland more than I do the author of the above-linked article, for what it's worth. I personally feel that, if you manage to play 60 minutes of hockey and do not lose, you deserve to get a point in the standings. If you play 65 minutes and still do not lose, you deserve a point in the standings. And eliminating points for overtime losses would likely lead to less drama and excitement in March, because fewer teams would be scrambling for the last playoff spot or two. I find shootouts enjoyable to watch but I do not like them as a way to determine whether a team wins or loses a hockey game. That should be determined when two teams are actually playing hockey, not taking penalty shots and hoping for the best.
Unlike Holland, I feel that a win should count as a win in the "W" column whether it is in regulation OR during the 4-on-4 OT session. This is because you are actually playing a hockey game during these 65 minutes; you are not hoping that one team scores on more penalty shots than another. As for losses, I feel that a team should receive a loss in the "L" column whether they lose in regulation OR in overtime. However, you would still get a point for losing a game in OT, as I mentioned above.
Before I get into shootouts and confuse the hell out of everyone, let me illustrate my idea. The standings column would look like this under the Mikefive Proposal:
W L T OP
W stands for "Wins" as it always has. A team who wins in regulation or in the 4-on-4 OT gets a number in the Wins column. Wins are worth 2 points in the standings.
L stands for "Losses" as it always has. A team who loses in regulation or in the 4-on-4 OT gets a number in the Losses column. Losses are worth 0 points in the standings. (See below re: OT and shootouts.)
T stands for "Ties" like it used to back before the league decided that ties sucked. (Note to the NHL: Soccer is the world's most popular sport, and it has Ties. Just sayin'.) Each team is awarded a tie if neither wins during regulation OR in the 4-on-4 OT. A tie counts for one point in the standings, like it used to.
OP stands for "Overtime Points." A team is awarded an Overtime Point if it loses during the 4-on-4, OR if it wins the shootout. Each Overtime Point counts for - you guessed it - one point in the standings.
Under this system, it would be easier to use actual wins as a tiebreaker in the standings. Teams who win in a shootout would still receive points as they do now, but the points would be distributed differently. This would likely encourage teams to press for victory in regulation and/or the 4-on-4 OT. Additionally, fans would see a clearer picture of how good their teams are since losses in the 4-on-4 OT create losses in the "L" column, even though the OT losers still would get a point in the OP column. In other words, the only time losses would not technically be "losses" would be when they happen in the shootout.
Under this system, the Flyers would be 7-4-3-2 right now because 7 of their wins came either during regulation or in OT. Their 4 losses all came during regulation. They would have 3 ties since they made it to the shootout 3 times, and they would have 2 Overtime Points since they won two of their shootouts and got the "extra points," as many commentators say. (Their one OT loss this year came in the shootout; under this system, that would be represented as a tie.)
What do you all think of this? Do you love it? Hate it? Feel indifferent?
UPDATE: ***IN LIGHT OF THE COMMENTS, HOW ABOUT THIS?***
W L OP
2 points in for a regulation or OT (4-on-4) win. 0 points for a regulation loss, 1 for an OT or SO loss, 2 for an SO win, just like we have now. But Regulation and OT wins go in the W column, Regulation and OT losses go in the loss column, 1 point goes into the OP for an OT or SO loss, 2 points go into the OP column for a SO win.