The NHL has never been shy about changing the format of its All-Star game and it appears to be about to do so yet again. Instead of a traditional hockey game, the All-Star game will instead be changing to a 3-on-3 tournament format for January's game in Nashville.
TSN's Bob McKenzie was the first to report the change. Said McKenzie:
There’s going to be a 3-on-3 mini-game format for the All-Star Game in Nashville this year. The National Hockey League Players Association recently signed off on that new format and the expectation is that the League will be making some sort of formal announcement on it [Wednesday]. ... What we believe to be the case is the fantasy draft will be dead and that instead there will be four divisional teams – nine, 10 skaters apiece, a couple of goaltenders for each team - and that you would have the two divisions in the Eastern Conference play a 20-minute mini-game, the two teams in the Western Conference would play a 20-minute mini-game and then you would have the two winners play in another 20-minute mini-game.
This of course will mark the end of the short-lived all-star fantasy draft, meaning no more Alex Ovechkin lobbying to be picked last.
The reception of the new 3-on-3 overtime format this season has been largely positive - with only a few notable exceptions - but its main purpose was to reduce the number of shootouts. How this will look in a 20 minute 'game' remains to be seen.