NHL.com- NHL general managers recommended Tuesday that the League go to a 3-on-3 format for regular-season overtime, starting as early as next season.
The managers want to see 3-on-3 overtime instituted in an attempt to decrease the number of overtime games that reach the shootout.
The format of the new-look overtime is undetermined with two being considered.
One option would have overtime start 3-on-3 and continue for five minutes, unless a goal is scored, before going to the shootout.
The other would mimic the model instituted by the American Hockey League this season, with 4-on-4 play for the first three minutes of a seven-minute overtime, followed by 3-on-3 play after the first whistle past the three-minute mark.
Lord hear my prayer. I'm not a religious man, but someone up there is listening. Like I said before,
the novelty has worn off, the bloom is off the rose, the NHL's post lockout golden egg has gone bad. Time to throw it in the trash for good, but I guess I will settle for a couple minutes of 3 on 3 which will likely leave the shootout nearly an afterthought. I'm not exactly sure when the GM's realized this was a necessity, but the NHL has certainly done it's fair share to make the shootout less entertaining up until now. The dry scrape, which resulted in bad ice and thus less creativity, was only of detriment to an already dying concept.
I'm not sure if fans realize the entertainment value of 3-on-3. It happened during a Devils/Kings game in overtime last year and it was probably the most stimulating two minutes of hockey I watched all year. For every breathtaking shootout goal, move, or save, there are about 6 or 7 attempts completely void of any excitement whatsoever. Giving the most talented players in the world the space that 3 on 3 provide opens up the possibility for so much more than a simple breakaway does. Sure, it's still a little gimicky, but at least it incorporates all aspects of hockey. At least the outcome of the game rests in the hands of the offense, defense, and goaltending. At least it's not a complete skills competition, although it does favor those teams that are top heavy talent wise. People love up and down hockey, and 3 on 3 will provide them a roller coaster ride of sorts. A sudden death victory during play is immeasurably more exciting than the slow but certain conclusion of the shootout. Thank god members of the NHL are starting to see that.