Using The Tie-Breaker To Eliminate A Team From NHL Playoff Contention Is Ridiculous


Apr 27, 2013; The Blue Jackets’ elation would soon be replaced by depression as they would be eliminated from the playoffs based on a tie-breaker when the Wild beat the Avalanche later in the evening. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

If you are a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets or a fan of said team, you probably waking up with a horrible taste in your mouth, because you look at the standings and see your team tied in points with the Minnesota Wild yet there is an asterisk beside their name signifying that they are in the playoffs while you are not.

Such is the case, and rules are rules, but the ridiculousness of using a tie-breaker to determine whether or not a team makes the playoffs is not lost on me.  The Blue Jackets played by the rules all season and used those rules to accumulate the same number of points as the Wild, yet some of Minnesota’s points are now deemed more valuable?

A tie-breaker is fine for determining placement if two teams are tied for, say, 5th and 6th in the conference and it just determines seeding.  But for teams tied for 8th and 9th, the NHL should look at the baseball model and have a one game tiebreaker.  I know the logistics are a little different, but imagine the spotlight that would be on a play-in game.  It would give the tied teams a chance to play their way in, instead of relying on a made-up column in the standings to determine their fate.

Even with the parity that the 3 point game brings to the NHL, the only other time in the last 10 seasons the tiebreaker was used was in 2008-09 when the Canadiens had the identical record to the Panthers but made the playoffs based on head to head points in the season series.  ROW was not even a tie-breaker at that time.  It would be difficult to have a play-in game scenario if 3 teams were tied for the 8th spot, but that is a very unlikely scenario.

Yes, I know that teams are fully aware of the tiebreakers going in, I just think it is a terrible way to eliminate a team from the playoffs, and if Ottawa was in the position that the Blue Jackets find themselves this morning, I would be sick to my stomach.