AHL announces standings, shootout formats

The American Hockey League today announced the new standings format to be utilized for the upcoming 2004-05 preseason and regular season. The new format includes a column labeled “SOL” for shootout losses.

Beginning in 2004-05, the AHL has implemented a shootout for games which are tied at the end of a five-minute sudden-death overtime period. Teams will be awarded two points for a win (in regulation, in overtime or in a shootout), one point for an overtime loss or a shootout loss and zero points for a regulation loss. The standings will be kept in a W-L-OTL-SOL format, such that the sum of the four columns equals a team’s number of games played.

For purposes of calculating individual records for goaltenders and coaches, a three-column format will continue to be used (W-L-SOL). As has been the case in previous seasons, overtime losses will be treated as losses. Shootout losses will be kept in the third column, and will be treated historically as the equivalent of ties.

In a shootout, each team will get five attempts to score on a breakaway starting at the center red line. The visiting team will shoot first, and each team’s five shooters will be determined by the respective coaches prior to the shootout. Once a team has mathematically clinched a victory, it will be declared the winner. If both teams are tied after five rounds, the shootout will proceed to sudden-death rounds until a winner is determined; shooters for the sudden-death rounds must come from the original groups of five.

Shootout results will not count towards goaltenders’ records for purposes of calculating goals-against averages and save percentage. Goals scored during a shootout will not count towards players’ season totals.

The winning team in a shootout will be awarded one additional goal and one additional shot in the final game report. (If a game is tied 2-2 after overtime, the final score will be 3-2, regardless of the number of successful attempts in the shootout. If shots on goal are 30-30 after overtime, the final shot total will be 31-30 in favor of the winning team.)

The American Hockey League continues its tradition of excellence when its 69th season begins on Oct. 13, once again serving as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League clubs. More than 100 alumni recently competed in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey tournament, and over 80 percent of all players to compete in the NHL in 2003-04 were AHL graduates, with more than 400 players taking the ice in both leagues.