Bit of a slow news day today, so you know I’m not going to pass up the chance to bang the drum on the idea of 3-on-3 overtime as a way to reduce the number of shootouts in the NHL. (There have been 76 of them so far.)
They are, of course, experimenting with this very idea in the AHL.
From the Associated Press, which spoke to AHL president David Andrews for its story on the experimental OT format:
It’s seven minutes long - or until someone scores, of course - with the opening three minutes 4-on-4. Then, after the next whistle, it switches to 3-on-3 for the last four, leading to lots of room for creativity and scoring chances. If that doesn’t decide things, it goes to a shootout, a concept that drives many a coach bonkers since it’s almost like a skills competition.
That’s the thing, though. This new overtime system has cut down significantly on shootouts.
Last year, the AHL had 65 per cent of its OT games decided in a shootout, Andrews said. This season, it’s shrunk to 25 per cent.
Even more, of the 99 overtime games so far, 35 of them have been decided in 3-on-3 action.
The AP also spoke to Colorado forward Matt Duchene, who wholeheartedly supports the idea: “If [the NHL] did this, there’s no way games would go to a shootout. As much as shootouts are fun to watch, I’m not a big fan of them, because it stinks to finish a game on a non-hockey play.”