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The NHL Is a Vote Away From Moving to 3 on 3 OT To Try And Reduce The Number Of Shootouts

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CBS - The NHL plans to play three-on-three in overtime next season. The league’s general managers and players agreed Tuesday to change the regular-season overtime period from five minutes of four-on-four hockey to three-on-three. The Board of Governors still must approve the change Wednesday when it meets in Las Vegas. The Board also will consider a recommendation to allow coaches to challenge goals on the basis of goalie interference calls or offside calls. But the biggest agreement was reached on a fundamental change to overtime, which has been four-on-four in the NHL since 1999. Various minor leagues and European circuits have used three-on-three play with wide success. “We’ve already seen that it works in the AHL,” Calgary general manager Brad Treliving said. “And when you translate that to the skill level of the NHL players, I think it’s going to be very exciting.” “I’m not against anything that gets fewer shootouts,” Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray said. “The fewer shootouts, the better. … Three-on-three is fun. Three-on-three is a great thing. The AHL proved that one system worked, but the players weren’t fully on board with that apparently, so we’re going in a different direction, but there should be less shootouts.”

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A gimmick to try to replace a gimmick! But in reality, it’s really hard to be upset about anything that reduces the number of shootouts. I’m not a shootout hater per se, I think it does bring excitement especially to the casual fan, but I don’t think a skills competition should decide a game either. I like 4 on 4 a lot, but when teams know they are getting a point for just tying, they can tighten up and hope to win the shootout coinflip for the addition point. Going to 3 on 3 has proven in the AHL to increase scoring and make the game more exciting, so I’m not against it. I just don’t know why they won’t get rid of the point for losing a game. Make teams need to win.

Nobody wants to see a game end in a tie, and obviously they can’t have regular season games go on for 4 OTs like it’s playoff hockey. So moving to 3 on 3 to try to decrease the number of shootouts is a good move. In a perfect world they would have a way to eliminate shootouts but also eliminate tie games, but that doesn’t seem feasible. So I give this my stamp of approval. Even if teams play 2 back, there is so much open ice that the attacking team will be able to find plenty of open space to get scoring chances. Should be fun and really let the skilled players shine.

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