Many folks neglect the NHL flirted with the thought of a 3-2-1 factors system 18 years in the past at one of the vital well-known GMs conferences in league historical past. One wonders how the NHL would look all these years later had there not been a change of coronary heart on it.

I used to be there in Henderson, Nev., in February 2004 when league senior vice-president Colin Campbell emerged from the GMs assembly and surprised the media members available. The league proposed an inventory of adjustments that will drastically change the sport post-lockout in 2005: the elimination of the center-ice crimson line (no extra two-line go), the introduction of the shootout after additional time, a serious crackdown on obstruction, and so on. It was an enormous bundle that will change the sport.

But there was one other merchandise that Campbell talked about that day: The thought of a 3-2-1 factors system along with the introduction of the shootout, so three factors for a 60-minute regulation win. The notion on the time was that possibly the AHL might strive it out for a yr earlier than the NHL circled again on it.

Former AHL president David Andrews mentioned the NHL by no means did ask the AHL to strive it out.

“We did a comparability with how the standings would have seemed (within the AHL). That’s about it,’’ Andrews mentioned Monday.

When the NHL re-emerged from the lockout that worn out your entire 2004-05 season, the entire gadgets from that February 2004 GMs assembly have been adopted apart from one: the change to the factors system.

“During the competition committee meetings about the whole rules-change package, this (three-point wins) was certainly a consideration to make the game more exciting and to put more bite into a team’s win,” Campbell recalled to me in a 2009 interview. “We debated it fairly a bit, whereas additionally considering mixing within the shootout. In the tip, that is how we felt the factors ought to align. It actually has stored much more groups aggressive and vying for a playoff spot. Yet, it additionally invitations the query, possibly there must be emphasis on the 60-minute recreation?

“But, at the end of the day, I don’t think the three-point game will be opened up again for a while because the competitive balance has certainly been achieved.”

The thought, even after not making the minimize in 2005, nonetheless kicked round within the minds of some GMs for a bit. And lastly, on the February 2007 GM conferences, the GMs determined as soon as and for all on three-point wins and killed the idea for good.

“Because it’s a terrible idea,” then-Ducks GM Brian Burke mentioned after the assembly that day. “That’s why it didn’t have any support.”

And that was that. I bear in mind leaving these GM conferences feeling just like the three-point win was most likely useless ceaselessly.

In a nutshell, the league has at all times favored the tightening of the standings that the present factors system creates, as synthetic as it might be at instances. And some GMs, together with Burke, apprehensive some groups can be out of it by Christmas, the hole within the standings widened by three-point wins. And I imply, that’s potential I suppose.

But shouldn’t the higher groups be extra precisely mirrored within the standings? Shouldn’t the cream be allowed to rise to the highest in a more true vogue?

To this present day, Burke has not modified his stance on it.

“Because it was a horrible thought,’’ Burke, having been reminded what he mentioned in 2007, politely reiterated to The Athletic on Monday.

“I learn a few papers concerning the impression of three-point video games in numerous (soccer) leagues in Europe,’’ Burke, now president of hockey ops for the Penguins, mentioned. “This was about 8-10 years in the past. I learn two research. They concluded it had no impression.’’

And Burke additionally reiterated the priority that groups on the high might create some critical separation within the standings with three-point wins.

“The parity that we’ve can be undermined significantly by that, for my part,’’ Burke mentioned. “I’ve by no means understood the attraction for it.’’

So agreed to disagree, as soon as once more, some 15 years later. And that’s the enjoyable of it. It’s a wholesome debate.

Not that I haven’t tried to carry it up every now and then through the years.

I argued for the three-point win in a December 2009 piece for ESPN.

I wrote about it once more for ESPN in November 2016.

I’ve talked about it many instances in different items, together with at The Athletic the final 5 years, the place I opine on issues I’d change within the recreation.

And after all on Twitter too many instances to recollect, together with most not too long ago after a positive piece by our Sean McIndoe on the loser level:

But right here we’re, 18 years after the NHL flirted with the thought, nowhere nearer to seeing it come to fruition.

All these years later, Andrews, talking from an AHL perspective, makes this fascinating level.

“The level in OT made sense on the time so as to encourage groups to open up in OT quite than proceed to entice to guard the tie,’’ Andrews mentioned. “Once the shootout got here into being to find out a winner, the OT level most likely might have disappeared.’’

Another historical past lesson: The NHL shootout would have by no means seen the sunshine of day in 2005 with out the loser level hooked up to it. GMs would have voted it down with out the loser level, they advised me on the time. They didn’t need a person occasion just like the shootout having that a lot weight on the standings, and I get that.

But it’s created some synthetic factors accumulation within the standings. And don’t come at me with revised standings proper now based mostly on the 3-2-1 components after the very fact, which individuals usually do. You can’t truly understand how it could impression the standings with out the precise carrot in entrance of groups in reality, particularly over the ultimate month of the season when groups combating for his or her playoff lives can be attempting to get three factors in 60 minutes so desperately. Wouldn’t that be superior to observe?

Of course, there’s the argument of simply dropping the shootout altogether, too, and lengthening three-on-three additional time a couple of extra minutes. That is, if the NHL Players’ Association might reside with the additional put on and tear on its expert gamers.

Listen, it’s been a enjoyable common season, the offensive numbers are up, the video games are enjoyable, we’ve had some excellent particular person performances, there’s rather a lot to love concerning the NHL recreation proper now. The recreation is entertaining to observe.

But I received’t ever surrender the argument that both a 3-2-1 factors system or going again to the unique 2-0 (two factors for any win, zero factors for any loss), is the best way to go if you wish to actually mirror and measure the efficiency of groups over 82 video games.

I’ll argue that ceaselessly.

(Photo: Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images)

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