Time To Reframe ‘Loser Points’ For Flames Team That Earned Them
The Calgary Flames have technically lost more games than they’ve won this year, but the extra point earned in many of their games has kept them in the NHL playoff hunt. It’s time to change the way we talk about it.
Technically, the Calgary Flames have lost more games than they’ve won.
But with at least a point in 14 of their last 17 games, the ‘loser point’ has kept them in the playoff hunt. They’re holding the top spot in the Western Conference wildcard race but are also still in striking distance of the division title.
No, seriously. The Calgary Flames could still repeat as Pacific Division champs. The odds don’t favour it but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Fire up the Jim Carrey Dumb and Dumber memes.
The Vegas Golden Knights are only seven points ahead. That’s potentially one or two decent winning streaks away. And last year, the Flames got hot in the new year and paved the way to their regular-season banner.
So maybe it’s time to stop calling the points from overtime and shootout losses ‘loser points.’ They’re critically important in the standings. And if you think about it, they’re earned points. The second one is a bonus. Maybe that one should be called the ‘winner point’ instead.
Hey, I’m as guilty as anyone for contributing to this stigma. Maybe it’s a reflection of the trend toward the negative in society these days. Especially when it comes to sports. Even more so when it comes to social media sports feeds.
No more, though. Not from this site.
To put those ‘loser points’ into perspective, let’s go back to the era of hockey where there was no such thing. Regulation was and still is 60 minutes. From sometime in the 1940s until the 1980s, that was all we got. If there was no decision, both teams got a point for the tie. In the early ’80s, we saw the five-minute overtime period introduced. Overtime winners took all. No single point was awarded until the 1999-2000 NHL season. That’s when teams finally got rewarded for draws through regulation regardless of what happened next.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t recall anyone calling that single point for overtime losses the loser point before the lockout. It was the shootout — which as Connor McDavid said recently is arguably the worst way to end a game in a team sport — that seemed to spark this loser mentality in the post-lockout era standings breakdown.
Somehow, we might be letting our feelings about the shootout, or the razzle-dazzle three-on-three overtime’s effectiveness of determining a winner, change the way we view the regulation effort.
Teams that come away from that have earned the point. That’s the bottom line. If the Dallas Stars scored one more goal against the Calgary Flames on Saturday afternoon to force overtime after trailing 6-1, but then lost in OT or a shootout, would anyone have called their single point a loser point?
It’s time to take it out of the hockey vernacular.