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Polling The Players

from the CP at TSN,

The pace and excitement of 3-on-3 overtime isn't just a thrill for hockey fans — NHL players love it too.

An Associated Press/Canadian Press survey of NHLPA representatives from all 31 teams found that 97 per cent of those polled enjoy the league's current overtime format.

The survey also shows there are other rules the athletes are less thrilled with, ranging from delay-of-game penalties to confusion about goalie interference.

And whole the 3-on-3 period is popular, Arizona Coyotes defenceman Kevin Connauton says the worst rule in hockey is resolving a game with a shootout when overtime fails to produce a winner.

"I don't really like the shootout," he said. "I think you just play 3-on-3 and eventually someone will score."

continued

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Comments

Alan's avatar

“I don’t really like the shootout,” he said. “I think you just play 3-on-3 and eventually someone will score.”

Agree completely.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 04/23/19 at 09:48 AM ET

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The solution I like best is to put 20 minutes on the clock and play 3-on-3 sudden death. If after all that back and forth nobody scores, call it a tie. And get rid of the loser point entirely.

Based on 3-on-3 scoring rates, we would expect:

- Around 60 percent of games to end within the first five minutes. (The actual figure this year was 68 percent, but I’d expect that number to go down slightly due to the elimination of the loser point making teams more conservative.)

- About 85 percent of games end within ten minutes.

- Only about three percent of OT games would go the full 20 minutes without a goal, which means that more often than not there’d be fewer than 10 total ties across all teams in the entire league in a given season. Ties would be so rare that when they do happen they’d hopefully feel more exciting and earned and less like a boring non-outcome.

- Since game duration is absolutely capped at 4 total periods (and would almost never need it all), nobody ever has to stay up until 1 a.m. on a school night for a regular season game.

And of course, no more shootouts and no more loser point. Just win, lose, or tie with ties being extremely rare—like the NFL.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/23/19 at 10:20 AM ET

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Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/23/19 at 10:20 AM ET

I’d be down for that, probably makes too much sense to get done though.

Posted by MZ2215 on 04/23/19 at 10:55 AM ET

hockeyfreak13's avatar

Hilarious that Gudas was the only one who didn’t like the 3v3 format.

Posted by hockeyfreak13 from Grand Rapids on 04/23/19 at 11:24 AM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

Yes, Sven. Yes.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 04/23/19 at 11:38 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Hard not to love more hockey, but that’s a lot of wear and tear on the games stars and would cut into practice time IMO.  Maybe go another 5 minutes tops. 

OT isn’t very physical but its exhausting going up and down the ice with the puck, i.e. not passing it up the ladder.  Often use full ice 3 on 3 at end of practices for fun conditioning. 

You get into one of those 3 games in 4 night stretches, and have the 1st game go into a 15 minute OT, that’s a lot of ice time.  Would make the game the next day a tough hill to climb when your best players played 25 minutes plus, and that’s when that extra wear on a star’s legs could get them into trouble. 

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 04/23/19 at 12:45 PM ET

Steve in San Francisco's avatar

I get that a team’s stars are the ones out for 3v3, but if it was potentially going to go the full 20 min, you’d HAVE to roll 4 (5? 6?) lines or risk completely exhausting your big guns. But Gary will never bring back ties or get rid of the loser point, because that would be like admitting he’s not perfect.

Posted by Steve in San Francisco on 04/23/19 at 12:59 PM ET

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Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 04/23/19 at 12:45 PM ET

I hear you but I also think you’re overestimating how taxing it would be in practice.

Even with the possibility of unlimited 5-on-5 OT, the average NHL playoff game is just 63 minutes long. And even when teams sometimes play those triple-OT outliers they still manage to get it together and play two nights later.

With my proposal a single regular game, time-wise, can only be up to 33 percent longer than regulation at the absolute max, and a typical team might be expected to make it to the 15 minute mark of OT or later only about once per season.

And even in your scenario, a rational coach might well decide to use more of his bench in OT if it makes it beyond 10 minutes and he knows he has two more games in the next three days. Obviously 3-on-3 play is more physically demanding on average than 5-on-5, but with only 3 guys on the ice and 18 skaters to choose from you can also give individual players a lot more rest between shifts.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/23/19 at 01:10 PM ET

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Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/23/19 at 01:10 PM ET

One other item to add—because 3-on-3 goals are scored so quickly relatively to 5-on-5 or even 4-on-4, the total increase in ice time is pretty negligible.

About a quarter of all NHL games go to OT, and at 3-on-3 the average OT period would last about six minutes. So a typical NHL team is only going to be playing about 2 extra hours per season beyond regulation, compared to about 70 minutes under current rules.

I’m pretty sure NHL players can handle an extra ~50 minutes of game time per season. If not, dropping the schedule form 82 games to 81 games would already more than make up the difference.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/23/19 at 01:25 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/23/19 at 01:10 PM ET

Have you ever played 3v3 hockey full ice?  I had not until about 10 years ago, and I probably would’ve agreed with you, but I was shocked by how much more skating and endurance was involved irrespective of FOR or DEF.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 04/23/19 at 04:12 PM ET

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Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 04/23/19 at 04:12 PM ET

Fair point.

Still, I would note that under the current rules teams are already playing 3-on-3 overtime, and already nearly 70 percent of those games don’t even make it long enough to get to the shootout. And if players are starting to get winded after 8, 9, 10 minutes of 3-on-3, it just makes it more likely that someone will make a mistake, get caught flat-footed, etc. and the puck will wind up in the back of the net.

We are talking a very small minority of games per year lasting the full 20. A given team might have one tie every other year.

And if one or two games per year per team get to 15 or even 20 minutes of 3-on-3, and it means the team comes out especially flat for the following game? I mean that’s certainly possible, even if the coach tries to keep shifts short and manage minutes in OT.

But looking at the bigger picture I think those one or two extra exhausting games per year is a relatively small price to pay for getting shootouts and loser points out of the game without also getting a massive amount of tie games. I think there are a lot more positives than negatives for players and fans in this scenario.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/23/19 at 04:36 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/23/19 at 04:36 PM ET

I’ll take your statistical word for it, and we’re talking about a very small number of games, so 8 minutes should solve 95% of the games, from there, let’s end in a shoot out or a tie

I do think once you make this a full period, and change the points around, your going to see more practice system and strategy around it, and that could skew your stats, coaches are really good at coaching defensively.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 04/23/19 at 04:47 PM ET

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I do think once you make this a full period, and change the points around, your going to see more practice system and strategy around it, and that could skew your stats, coaches are really good at coaching defensively.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Holland Hate Hyperbole Town (HHHT) on 04/23/19 at 04:47 PM ET

One interesting observation here is that the average playoff OT only lasts 13 minutes—and that’s with 5-on-5 play and teams employing low-risk, defense-first strategies. So even with improved coaching I think 3-on-3 is still going to result in goals at a respectably high rate—there’s just too much open ice to lock everything down.

But I think you are correct that the 3-on-3 scoring rate would probably decrease to some degree over time if the loser point were removed, and that if game times do start to creep up and it’s having a noticeable impact on quality of play, adjustments would need to be made.

Maybe we’d have to dial back and cut OT at 10 minutes. Or maybe coaches would adjust by simply treating OT like any other period and using their entire bench. There are definitely some longer-term unknowns as systems and strategies evolve, but I think at least in the immediate term there are good reasons to think it would work pretty well. Call it an experiment, take it year to year, see how it goes.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 04/23/19 at 05:25 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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