Hockey fans were spared another season of unnecessary confusion when the league announced last week that it has eliminated the inane RT column from its standings. RT stands for regulation tie and was implemented last season along with the NHL's current overtime format, in which teams are guaranteed at least a point simply for reaching the extra session. Last year whenever a team lost in overtime the total in both the L and the RT columns increased by one. (The winning team in overtime got only a W and the customary two points.)
That practice was befuddling, because with overtime losses being credited in both the L and RT columns of the standings, it was difficult to determine how many games a team had played by looking at its overall record. "With the games not adding up," says NHL spokesman Gary Meagher, "people were lost."
This year each game will be counted once in a team's record. A win will go down as a W, a loss in regulation as an L and a tie as a T. An overtime loss will go into a new column, OTL, an acronym that makes sense. If your team loses its season opener in overtime, its record will be 0-0-0-1.