SUN Hockey Pool

Losing streak ends at nine!

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

The losing streak is over!

Let the bells ring out and the banners fly!

Whoop-de-doo! Yahoo!

The National Hockey League says the Edmonton Oilers' 3-2 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues doesn't count.

The losing streak ends at nine!

When the Oilers lose to the Vancouver Canucks tonight it won't be 11 losses in a row. No. It'll be a one-game losing streak.

But whoa. No. This is Edmonton. We know the difference between winning and losing around here. Goodness knows we've dealt with the extremes of both over the years.

That was a loss.

Finally the NHL's "garbage in, garbage out" laughable "loser point" system has completely and entirely exposed itself with this one.

Oilers stats man Steve Knowles phoned with the news yesterday. NHL stats man Benny Ercolani informed the skidding squad that Saturday night's loss would not be scored as a loss in the record book. What we're now officially dealing with here is a 10-game winless streak and a team record to beat of 14.

GREEN'S OILERS

So the losing streak of Ted Green's Oilers from the fall of '93 when they lost 11 in a row, including two in OT, stands as the Oilers' record?

Because there were no "loser points" in OT back then, the OT losses counted as actual losses.

Mind-boggling concept.

Craig MacTavish's team only lost the one in OT. But that one doesn't count as a loss? Does that make any sense to anyone in Edmonton? Even the Oilers?

Tell the players they didn't lose that game when Eric Brewer scored at 2:04 of OT. I've been in a lot of losing dressing rooms and the Oilers' room was definitely a losing dressing room.

Players' heads were hung. Some of the younger players sat there staring at the floor. Veteran players were nowhere to be found, not that there are many of them still left in the lineup as a result of injuries, the flu and minus 22.

If the Oilers' losing streak is over, it just further exposes the NHL rules makers as the real bunch of losers here.

The NHL standings have been smoke and mirrors, slight of hand and bogus out-of-focus hocus pocus since being introduced.

According to the standings, with all these "loser points," only seven of 30 teams are under .500.

And the Oilers are only five games under .500 with a 30-35-4-3 record.

If Kevin Lowe and the Oilers' braintrust honestly cons themselves into thinking they are anything but 30-42 - their real won-loss record - they're going to be missing the playoffs for several seasons.

In the final three weeks of the season, the concept of providing three points in some games, and two in others, is likely going to end up making the difference between getting into the playoffs and missing the playoffs in the Eastern Conference for the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs - who are all two points apart.

The Maple Leafs and the Islanders have 10 "loser points," the Rangers nine and the Hurricanes eight.

THREE POINTS

If you really must have two points for an overtime or shootout win and one for a loss, give the regulation-time winner three points.

Me, I'd go the highly successful soccer route where the winner gets three points and the loser gets nothing. A tie gets each team one point.

That forces coaches to go forward, to play for wins - and not just by one goal just in case. Coaches with too many ties get fired.

In the NHL only seven coaches have a losing record.

Kill the flow. Defence, defence, defence. Squeeze all the creativity out of the game.

Keep it close. Lose in OT or the shootout. It doesn't count as a loss.

All I know is that around here we know the difference between a win and a loss.

Give us back our losing streak!

TJONES@EDMSUN.COM


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