Thursday, January 03, 2008

Overtime losing has it's benefits

Robert L at Eyes on the Prize has the sneaking suspicion that the Habs recored may be fooling everyone into thinking they are better than they are.

Well, he's right isn't he?

Overtime losses do skew the results a little, but I would like to point out a few reasons we should at least be optimistic about the Habs:

1) Many of their OTLs were actually shootout losses. So they didn't actually lose those games. Let's say they tied, with the opponents getting a bonus point. The Canadiens are 2-5 in the shootout, so let's say then that they are 17-13-2 with 5 ties and 2 bonus points. As you can see it's above .500 in actual game play.

2) As much as we dislike them, OTLs do count for points. As I've harped on and on about, in the end points are all that matter in the regular season. I would rather get a point for losing and have a skewed feeling about where we stand than not. I bet the Islanders and Leafs didn't mind beating us last year on the strength of 5 and 6 more OTLs each.

3) Nothing is more disheartening than a 4-0 loss. So, any game that goes to OT is a game we played well enough (or almost) to win. 26/39 is very good in that light. Take into account there were a few games lost before OT that the Habs could have won, then the picture looks alright. Of course, most Eastern teams could do the same exercise for a feel good exercise, but that's why you go back to Point 2 (above) and give less credence to rationalizations like this and more to concrete points.

4) The Habs have 19 wins out of 39. If points were only awarded for winning, we would still be in playoff striking range (T8).

5) The Habs are just below the pace for 96 points (94.6 to be exact). With 3 points in the next 2 games, the Canadiens would be halfway to a 96-point season – the very target I set out. I think we'd all agree that 96 points would be a success and a good step towards improvement and possible playoff success.

Come on Habs fans. Chins up. The kids are alright...

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