Taking Another Look At 3-on-3 Overtime After One Month Down In The NHL Season

Earlier last week Erik Karlsson made a few headlines after he went off against the NHL’s new 3-on-3 overtime format. We’ll get back to his quotes in a little bit but right now, let’s just talk about how the new overtime format has been going so far through the first month of the NHL season.

For any casual observer of the game who has seen even a minute of the 3-on-3, you know that it’s one of the best decisions the league has ever made. For fans who get to watch the game from the comfort of their ass, 3-on-3 is about as exciting as it gets and gives every overtime a playoff hockey type of feel to it. Just non-stop action, plenty of breaks on each end of the ice and usually it ends with some sort of spectacular goal instead of needing a shootout to decide a winner. Which is exactly why 3-on-3 was implemented; to reduce the amount of games that head into a shootout. And here are some numbers that help defend that thought process on the NHL’s part via The Sports Quotient:

Since the implementation of new overtime rules following the lockout, around 23 percent of games have required overtime. Close to 60 percent of overtime games have ended in a shootout. This means that out of 10 games, roughly one to two were decided by a shootout…This season, through October 29, the same amount of games require an overtime as in previous years. However, only 33 percent have ended in a shootout, close to half the rate as before.

So so far the 3-on-3 overtime has been a huge success in regards to being entertaining for the fans and for decreasing the amount of games that need to be ended in a shootout. But then we get to players like Erik Karlsson and Dustin Byfuglien who have both come out railing against the new overtime format and this is where maybe it’s time for everyone who doesn’t actually play the game to kindly go fuck off. Don’t get me wrong, I love 3-on-3 overtime as much as the next guy who gets to watch it from the couch and use the highlights as content. But when guys like Karlsson and Byfuglien, who play over 20 minutes a night, come out and say that maybe it’s not the best move for the game… well then maybe it’s not the best move for the game.

Very few things are worse than people thinking they should be able to tell the players how to do their job. Like the people who argue that the NFL should move to 18 games. Because Karlsson has a point here. The new overtime isn’t actually hockey the same way that the shootout isn’t actually hockey. It’s just a bag skate where a lucky break here or there decides who wins the game. Would it suck for fans if the NHL just went back to having ties? Absolutely. Where would the fun in that be? But it’ll be interesting to see how the new overtime format plays out through the rest of the season and if more players start coming out against it like Karlsson and Byfuglien have. Because it may be fun and exciting to watch now, but maybe not so much once all the players get sick of it and start to play it a little differently.

But if it stays like this all season long, well then keep this shit going and tell Karlsson to stick a sock in it.

P.S. – We talked about 3-on-3 overtime (as well as plenty of other things) on the latest episode of Chief’s new podcast “Chip and Chase”. You should give it a listen, Chief is doing god’s work with these things.