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NHL's Worst Rule Contest: Instigator vs Loser Point

Over the past few days, we have been running a bracket style contest to determine the worst rule in the NHL. Just three days ago, the Instigator Rule put a whooping on slashing the stick, and thus gets the honor of facing the Loser Point for the rights to move into the next round.

Here are the Rules:

Instigator Rule 46.11

An instigator of an altercation shall be a player who by his actions or demeanor demonstrates any/some of the following criteria: distance traveled; gloves off first; first punch thrown; menacing attitude or posture; verbal instigation or threats; conduct in retaliation to a prior game (or season) incident; obvious retribution for a previous incident in the game or season.

A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation shall be assessed an instigating minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting and a ten-minute misconduct.

If the same player is deemed to be the instigator of a second altercation in the same game, he shall be assessed an instigating minor penalty, a major penalty for fighting and a game misconduct. When a player receives his third instigator penalty in one Regular season, he is automatically given a game misconduct following that third violation

Overtime Rule 84.1

During regular-season games, if at the end of the three (3) regular twenty (20) minute periods, the score shall be tied, each team shall be awarded one point in the League standings.

The teams will then play an additional overtime period of not more than five (5) minutes with the team scoring first declared the winner and being awarded an additional point

Why do these rules suck?

Instigator: As was stated in the previous round-

The instigator rule is one that is tricky. Called correctly, it could be a good rule. Problem is? It is never called correctly.

I dislike the rule because it makes it against the rules for Derek Boogaard to grab Matt Cooke by his stringy little neck and break him in half. Just so long as we aren't bitter, right? Most people dislike it because the league doesn't call it the same twice. If it is called in the last five minutes of a game, it is almost always rescinded the next day.

If you have a rule, call it. Otherwise, get rid of it.

That seems to be the consensus from those who dislike this rule, that if it were called properly, and consistently, it wouldn't be as bad as it is. But this isn't a contest among calls that might be made, it is a contest among calls the way they are called.

Loser Point: Brought in as a compromise with the NHLPA, the one point for making it to overtime was the way the NHL got their 4-on-4 overtime session. Later, the shootout would be added to game, eliminating all ties from the NHL.

The implementation of a loser point, coupled with no ties, makes for interesting happenings in the standings. The league is now the only "major" sport in which one game can be worth more than others. When a game is won in regulation, it is worth two points. When a game goes into overtime, the loser gets a point, and the winner gets two, making it worth three points. Imagine if, in Major League Baseball, a game was worth a game and a half in the standings if it went to extra innings.

Many leagues throughout the world have made each game worth three points. You get all three for a regulation win, two for an overtime win, and one for an overtime loss. All games are now worth the same amount of points, and there is incentive to win the game in regulation. The NHL? Not so much.

The end result of the loser point is what you have in the Western Conference, with there being little separation between the 4th and 12th positions. This keeps teams "in the playoff hunt" for longer periods of time, and supposedly keeps the fan bases excited. What I see it doing is annoying the hell out of the fans, and the NHL not really giving a damn.

Your turn, Wilderness. Make your case in the comments, and cast your vote.