Only in the National Hockey League is a win not always a win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins recently completed a perfect month of March with a record of 15 wins with no losses.  The 15 consecutive wins came two short of the NHL record of 17 wins registered by the Penguins in 1993.

A hockey purist was quick to point out that the '93 streak was 17 regulation and overtime wins in a row since there were no shootouts in 1993. The 2013 streak included a shootout win, which would not have counted as a win in 1993.

The rules of all sports change from generation to generation.  Anytime you make a comparison of something that happened years ago to something that happened recently the argument will always be how the comparisons are invalid.

While the record should still count, it does bring up an oddity of the National Hockey League rules regarding wins and losses. Only in hockey is a win not always a win, and a loss can actually gain ground for a team in the standings.

Under the current system the standings are determined by points, not just wins and losses, with two points awarded for a win, and one point awarded for an overtime loss.

The rules that have allowed ties, and now overtime losses, have changed three times since 1999.

Wishful thinking that an NHL season still possible

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While December 21, 2012 did not bring about the end of the world, it also did not bring about the end of the NHL lockout.  As the new year starts there is still hope that an NHL season is possible with both sides once again talking.

While an exact date is not on any calendar, the end is near for any possible NHL season. If the NHL lockout is not resolved by early January it is very likely that the entire 2012-2013 season would be lost.

If both sides could come to terms in the next few weeks a 48 game season is likely. That is the number of games played in the 1994-1995 lockout, and most people agree that anything less is not enough to represent a true season.

Keep in mind that for the NHL most fans realize that with more the half of the teams making the playoffs, the "regular season" is nothing more than a way to weed out the terrible teams and set up the playoff seedings.

As the deadline for the season closes in on us, the odds are that somehow both sides will come to some compromise to save the season.


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