Half-points part of new shootout idea: Take 5

With more and more NHL games being decided by a shootout, Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson is floating a plan under which the shootout winner would receive 1½ points instead of two.

HNIC's senior online reporter Tim Wharnsby dishes out the latest news, buzz and inside information from the hockey world.

Would deducting a half-point for a shootout win make sense? At least one NHL GM thinks so. ((Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) )

1. New shootout proposal calls for half-points

With more and more NHL games being decided by a shootout, Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson would like to see the shootout winner awarded 1½ points, instead of two. He plans to make such a proposal at the general managers' meetings in March.

"Everybody agrees that [shootouts are] a skill competition," Howson told the Columbus Dispatch, "and the weight of getting two points out of a skill competition is disproportionate to wins in regulation and overtime. This might get shot out of the sky, but I think it's something we should be looking at."

"Baseball does half-games. Basketball does half-games. They do percentages in baseball. I'm not saying this is the perfect answer, but it's something I want discussed."

The NHL is on track to see 184 games this season decided by a shootout, up from 159 last season.

2. Oilers take up occupancy in basement  

The Edmonton Oilers have finally landed in last place in the NHL after the Carolina Hurricanes upended the Boston Bruins on Sunday. That’s what happens when a team loses 10 in a row and 17 of its past 18.

It won't get any easier for the Oilers to snap out of their funk: they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.

On the trade front, as Scott Morrison and I discussed on the iDesk on Saturday afternoon, it's believed the Oilers may move veterans Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios and Fernando Pisani. Veteran defenceman Sheldon Souray has given Edmonton management a small list of teams he would agree to be traded to.

3. Bruins slip-slidin’ away

Boston's devastating 5-1 loss to the lowly Hurricanes on Sunday has left the defending Eastern Conference regular-season champs outside the top eight in the conference for the first time this season.

The Bruins can’t score (they’re last in the league at 2.37 goals per game) and Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas has struggled. His record is under .500 at 13-14-6 after he was pulled for allowing four goals on 15 shots in the Hurricanes game.

The Bruins are 2-7-1 in their past 10 games.

4. Happy birthday, Chris Chelios

Chicago Wolves defenceman Chris Chelios turns 48 on Monday. He celebrated his birthday with a 5-1 win at home against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday.

In 34 AHL games with the Wolves, Chelios has five goals and 18 points with a remarkable plus-minus rating of plus-24. The Wolves have gone 23-10-1 with with the ex-NHLer in the lineup.

5. McArdle scores first NHL goal  

Kenndal McArdle became the latest player to score his first NHL goal when the rookie tallied for the Florida Panthers in their 2-0 win at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

The former Moose Jaw Warriors forward was selected 20th overall by the Panthers in 2005. The 23-year-old McArdle had just returned after missing 26 games with an injured shoulder. It was his 20th NHL game. Panthers centre Gregory Campbell snatched the puck for a keepsake for his linemate.

"He's taken the long road to the NHL, but he's earned his job here right now and it's nice to see him get that goal and get rewarded," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said.