It ought to be simple.
Keeping track of wins and losses, letting the numbers decide who is better than who.
That's what the standings are all about.
But it turns out that every sport is different when it comes to ranking its teams.
The NHL standings might be the strangest of all, with its infamous "loser point."
Thanks to the lockout, this NHL season is a mad dash instead of a marathon.
The shortened schedule has many predicting that teams will be bunched within a few points of each other when the final standings are set on April 27.
With that in mind, here's a review of how the numbers are crunched:
Photo: Brad Marchand and the Boston Bruins are atop the Eastern Conference, but just five points clear of ninth place. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images).