FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- This one came last night out of the General Managers meetings in Las Vegas: Pending approval by the NHL Board of Governors today, overtime in the regular season will be 3-on-3 play starting this season.
No 4-on-4, no split between four-man or three-man like in the AHL (and now for 2015-16, the USHL).
Just 3-on-3. That's it. Open ice for everyone!
The league was seemingly headed for the hybrid style like in the AHL, with four minutes of 4-on-4 followed by 3-on-3 after the first whistle until the clock hits seven minutes. Then the shootout if there's no goal. The AHL had a goal last year in 75 percent of its OT games, way up from 35.3 percent in 2013-14.
But the NHLPA balked, clearly concerned about the ice time wear and tear for start players if OT goes to seven minutes. The theory on 3-on-3 is entertainment value for one, and the likelihood that OT will go less than five minutes because most games will see a goal scored before the shootout.
It should lead to some fascinating coaching strategy too. Do you go with two forwards and one defensemen or two defensemen with one forward? A lot of those decisions will be matchup-based and based on whether you're at home with the last change or on the road.
But you think more ice is attractive to guys like Tyler Ennis, Evander Kane and ......... Jack Eichel? You bet.
And although NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is adamant fans like the shootout and it will stay, even he seemed to agree during the Stanley Cup final that there were probably too many games going that far.
Also expected to go to BOG vote today is a proposal to expand video review to goals scored off plays that may potentially be offsides and plays involving potential goalie interference.