NHL general managers are recommending three-on-three play in overtime and coach challenges at this week's GM meetings, reports USA Today Sports' Kevin Allen.
Fifty-eight percent of NHL overtime games go to a shootout, reports USA Today Sports, and GMs plan to ask the league's players whether they would prefer three-on-three time overtime periods or the American Hockey League style of seven minutes including 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 play.
Rule changes approved by the competition committee, including players and the board of governors, could be be implemented for next season.
As SI.com's Alan Muir wrote on Monday, people throughout the NHL have observed the AHL when considering the possible overtime rules changes.
Opponents of the shootout have closely monitored the American Hockey League’s season-long experiment with expanded overtime. Hockey’s top minor league implemented a new approach that features up to seven minutes of extra time, starting at four-on-four, then switching to three-on-three upon the first whistle after three minutes of play.
So far, NHL observers like what they see. According to data provided by the AHL, only 5.6% percent of games (through March 3) have required the shootout, down significantly from 15.6% last season.
That’s music to the ears of those who would like to see fewer games decided by the shootout, aka the skills competition. Nearly 14% of NHL games through March 3 this season had gone to a shootout, up from 11.8% in 2005–06, the year it was introduced.
- Mike Fiammetta