ROW Hockey: What is ROW in Hockey Standings?

Do you know what is one of the essential things in the world? It’s the numbers everywhere. They are the defining measures. 

Similarly, hockey is also about numbers. The greatest hockey prize is the Stanley Cup, and the numbers and statistics determine who will qualify for the Stanley Cup. Therefore, learning and understanding hockey statistics and how to read them is crucial. 

What is ROW in hockey standings? ROW is short for Regulation plus Overtime Wins. To find out the ROW, we subtract the total number of wins through shootouts from the overall total. If two teams tie for a position in the standings, the ROW stats determine their position. The higher the ROW of a team, the higher its place in the NHL standings. Therefore, the ROW matters a lot for the teams.

ROW is one of the vital hockey statistics that help in determining the team positions in the playoffs. It helps to understand which team is top and can qualify for the Stanley Cup.

Let’s dig down deep; what is ROW in hockey? How ROW works in NHL standings. In addition, we will try to understand ROW statistics with examples.

How do you get points in the NHL standings?

Getting a top position in the NHL standings is the foremost priority of every team. It is the main aim of every game. But how do you get the points in the NHL standings? Usually, you either win a game or lose it. There is no third option, but there are different ways of getting points. 

The following table shows how the hockey teams get points in the table and the ways they are determined. 

OutcomePoints
Regulation Win2
Regulation Loss0
Overtime Win2
Overtime Loss1
Shootout Win2
Shootout Loss1

These are the six ways a game can end between two hockey teams.

If we look at the table, we find out:

  • A team gets a zero point only if it loses a game in regulation play.
  • The team will still get one point if it loses the game that has ended in overtime or a shootout.
  • Wins will always grant 2 points to the winning team.

How did ROW come about?

The table above shows how the NHL awards point to the teams. But how do we find the ROW, and where is the ROW stat in all this? As you can see above, there are different ways in which a hockey game ends. The hockey games go into the shootout periods if the regulation game gets tied between the teams. 

Many traditional hockey experts argue about this. These extra periods are more about individuals competing than a team. So, the argument is that the shootout wins are more individual wins than the team, which does not seem fair. 

The fact is this argument is valid to some extent. Therefore, the regulation win or the overtime win is more important than the NHL shootout wins.  

Hence, to maintain the clarity and fairness of the hockey games, the NHL devised rules accordingly, and the ROW stat came into being. The ROW is mainly used to decide which team comes first in case of a tie between the two teams. The NHL gives more value to the regulation wins, and the overtime wins than the shootout wins.

Examples of ROW in the standings

Let us give an example of the ROW for the teams in the NHL standings. 

PositionTeamGPWLOTPointsROW
6Chicago Blackhawks82433279342
7Dallas Stars82433279340
8Colorado Avalanche823830149036
9Edmonton Oilers823830149030

This is a hypothetical example of standings for four teams to understand better the role of ROW  in determining the team positions.

The table shows that the Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars have equal points, so they are tied for the same position. Despite having the same points, the ROW is different for both teams. The Chicago Blackhawks have greater ROW than the Dallas Stars, which means they won more regulation play games than the shootout games, while the Dallas Stars won more games in the shootouts than the Blackhawks.  

Therefore, the Chicago Blackhawks have a higher ROW and stand first, while the Stars are in second position.

The same is the case for the Colorado Avalanche and the Edmonton Oilers. Both have an equal number of points, but the Colorado Avalanche have more regulation and overtime wins than the Edmonton Oilers, so they have a higher ROW. Therefore, the Avalanche will stand before the Oilers.

This difference matters a lot sometimes. In this case, eight teams qualify for the playoffs.  Since the Edmonton Oilers are on the ninth number, they cannot make it to the playoffs. 

What if teams are tied in the ROW?

The NHL uses the ROW statistic in breaking the ties in the standings, but what if the ROW is also equal for two teams? There is a possibility that the teams might tie in the ROW too. What will the NHL do, then? 

In such a case, the team that has secured more in the head-to-head games will have priority over the other team. The difference in goals scored for and against in the regular season also determines the team’s position. (Source)

What is RW in the hockey standings?

In the NHL, RW indicates ‘Regulation Wins’, introduced in 2019-20, next to the ROW stats. NHL gives more importance to regulation wins than to overtime wins. So, if two or more teams are on a tie-in point, the team with more regulation wins will rank higher even with a low ROW count.

A ‘Regulation Win’ is when a team scores one extra goal compared to their opponents in regulation. While ‘A Regulation Plus Overtime Win’ is when a team gets two or more overtime goals to grab the win, it doesn’t matter if they scored any extra points in regulation play.

Do other leagues use ROW stat?

Other worldwide hockey leagues use ROW count, and some junior clubs do. Below is the table of hockey leagues that use ROW stat and those that do not.

LeaguesROW ColumnPoints System
American Hockey League (AHL)Yes2 Point System
Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)No2 Point System
National League (Swiss)Yes3 Point System
East Coast Hockey League (ECHL)No2 Point System
Swedish Hockey League (SHL)No3 Point System
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)Yes2 Point System
Ontario Hockey League (OHL)Yes2 Point System
Western Hockey League (WHL)Yes2 Point System

Some leagues do not use the ROW column, as they use the 3 points system for regulation wins. Only the Swiss National League monitors the ROW stat despite using the 3 points system. Both shootout and overtime are not considered too important as they earn teams only 2 points.

Other leagues use a 2 points system but prefer not to differentiate between wins.

Conclusion

For the NHL teams making their way to playoffs or wanting a home-ice advantage, an impressive ROW stat would make them higher in the standings. The change addresses the problem of balancing gimmicky shootout victories to team the first type of wins in regulation and overtime.

And this is about another NHL standings statistic, the ROW stat, which is one of the key statistics. 

Happy Reading!

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