NHL Board of Governors approve 3-on-3 overtime

EnnisshootoutA big change will be coming to the National Hockey League this season.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that the Board of Governors will approve a five minute, 3-on-3 overtime session for the upcoming 2015-2016 season.

While eliminating the shootout completely won’t be happening any time soon, this change will certainly make them less frequent.

There will still be a five minute 4-on-4 session, but if neither team scores, then a five minute 3-on-3 overtime would occur.

“There’s obviously a lot of space and I think once there is one scoring chance at one end, typically if you don’t score it goes back the other way,” said Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall.

“It ends up being exciting, fast-paced and, obviously, the skill level of the players comes out.  It’s just really risky hockey and it makes it very exciting. I saw some of it at the American League level and it’s very exciting.” -Flyers GM Ron Hextall

If you watched or followed any teams in the AHL, you may have seen how effective it was at limiting the number of games that went to a shootout. The other aspect that comes into play is how penalties will be handled during the 3-on-3 session. Since teams cannot have less the three players on the ice, a penalty would basically give the opposing team an extra player, making it 4-on-3. Teams could potentially play 4-on-3 or 4-on-4 up until the next whistle.

It’s hard to believe the shootout was implemented a decade ago, and the Sabres have participated in 115, going 64-51. Over the last five years, they’ve gone 33-22 and have been .500 or better.

Tyler Ennis led the Sabres with five shootout goals last season, but also was selected for all 12 shootouts the team played in.

Season leaders

Whether you’re a fan of the shootout or not, it’s still an effective way to avoid games ending in ties. The NHL gave fans what they wanted 10 years ago, and at first, the shootout was exciting. A playoff spot even came down to a shootout at one point in the 82nd game of the season for two teams. But has the shootout been overdone,  making it less special?

Either way, the number of shootouts can only down from here.

The Board of Governors also voted to bring a coach’s challenge to the league. This will be specifically for goals where the team may have been offside or where there may have been goaltender interference. A coach will only be able to challenge if the team’s timeout was not yet used.

What do you think of these changes? Tell us what you think by leaving a comment below.

Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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