• SHARE:
  • email
  • Bookmark and Share

THN.com Blog: Time to change the 'game-winning' goal

Jordan Leopold of the Avalanche scores the penalty shot game-winning goal on Chris Osgood of the Red Wings on Dec. 15. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Zoom Image

Jordan Leopold of the Avalanche scores the penalty shot game-winning goal on Chris Osgood of the Red Wings on Dec. 15. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Pop quiz time, kiddies. OK, here goes: Who holds the NHL’s all-time record for game-winning goals?

Time’s up. No problem, we don’t know either, largely because that particular statistic doesn’t exist. We know by looking at the NHL Guide and Record Book that Joe Sakic has 81 career game-winners, but we don’t know where that ranks among active NHLers. (And we don’t have time to look because we’re doing our annual gift exchange in 10 minutes. Don’t tell anybody, but my contribution is a really cool Hockey Night in Canada travel mug and T-shirt.)

Anyway, it’s probably just as well that the league has not kept track of game-winners because the way a game-winning goal is counted, it might be one of the most useless statistics in hockey.

For example, Team A scores four goals in the first period en route to an easy 8-3 victory. The fourth goal is scored at the 19:58 mark of the first period and the game is already out of reach. Team B scores two in the second, another one late on the power play in the third, so that meaningless fourth goal stands up as the game-winner.

I propose the NHL changes its method of determining game-winning goals. The goal that provides a team with the ultimate margin of victory should not be considered the game-winner. The game-winner should be the goal that puts the team “ahead to stay” in the game.

Related Links

That means the game-winner would in some cases be the first goal of the game and in others the shootout winner would be counted as the game-winner.

In another statistical bafflement by the league, shootout winners are counted neither among a player’s goal total for the season nor as a game-winning goal for the individual player, despite the fact it counts as the goal that decides the game and in goals-scored in the standings.

There is no equivalent of a game-winner in football or basketball, but in baseball, generally speaking, the winning pitcher is the one who is in the game when his team takes the lead and keeps it for the remainder of the game.

There are game-winners and there are lame-winners and it’s about time hockey do something about rewarding the ones that are meaningful.

Ken Campbell is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Wednesday and Fridays and his column, Campbell's Cuts, appears Mondays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

More Stories

Rule changes too late for Pitkanen; celebrating past and future Hall of Famers

When the NHL’s 30 GMs meet Tuesday in Toronto, it’s expected the league’s...

Change in roster philosophy the key to Rangers, Kings success

In a playoff season where almost nothing seems to make any sense, count on the New York Rangers...

Martin firing opens door to more change in Montreal

If it turns out that Randy Cunneyworth can’t learn French or improve the Montreal...

New Maple Leafs ownership won't spark on-ice change

When it comes to the sale of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment from a teachers’ pension...
blog comments powered by Disqus

THN on Twitter

Will the Los Angeles Kings repeat as Stanley Cup champions in 2014-15?




Contests

Our Partners