I follow the Islanders. They are supposed to be a hockey team. It’s hard to tell sometimes.
The NHL is in the middle of its regular season, an 80+ game marathon of dullness designed to whittle 30 teams down to the 16 that make the playoffs, which is the only thing that matters in hockey (or the NBA, for that matter).
The play is significantly different in the post-season, much more exciting. The difference between regular season hockey and playoff hockey is the difference between, say, Howard Dean and a thinking human.
Hockey breaks its teams down to 2 conferences, then each conference into 3 divisions.
Eight teams make the playoffs from each conference– the three division winners and the next 5 teams with the best record. So it doesn’t matter, not even a little, if your team is in 2nd or 3rd or 5th in your division—it only matters if you are in that next group of 5 in the whole conference.
Here’s my complaint— all of the NY newspapers give the standings broken down, as per the NHL’s wishes I presume, into these fictional, meaningless divisions. They give us lots of information– the teams records, their home and away records, how they did in their last 10 games, etc.
But they don’t tell us whether, if the season ended today, our team would be in the playoffs, nor how many points out of the playoffs they are.
In other words, we get lots of information, but little of it useful.
So at least once a week, I have to count off the teams with higher point totals than the Islanders to see how they’re dong. How hard would it be to add a column showing playoff status, or, even better, to simply list the conference in point order, with a little asterisk for the "division" leaders?
With all that’s going on in the world, I admit freely that this is a silly complaint. But hockey’s regular season is a silly endeavor, so I suppose this post is a fitting one.