Frederik Andersen of the Ducks makes a save against Patrick Sharp of the Blackhawks in the first overtime period of Game Four of the Western Conference Finals. Next season could see fewer players on the ice for overtime.
NHL overtime may look a lot different in 2015-16. Pending Board of Governor’s approval, the league will shift to a five-minute 3-on-3 overtime period before moving to the shootout. The days of 4-on-4 OT hockey in the regular season may be over according to Bob McKenzie of TSN:
Pending B of G approval, NHL will go to 3-on-3 overtime for 5 minutes in regular season games next season.
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For those asking, no 4-on-4 OT at all. Right to 3-on-3. 5 minutes sudden death. No goal, it goes to shootout.
The NHL had been monitoring the AHL’s overtime format (four minutes of 4-on-4 OT before moving to 3-on-3 for three minutes), but the idea of adopting it was squashed by the NHLPA.
NHLPA was adamantly opposed to AHL-tested model (4 mins of 4 on 4 and 3 mins of 3 on 3) so NHL choice was no change at all or 3 on 3 for 5.
Should the 3-on-3 movement pass, a huge percentage of games will be decided in overtime beginning next season. This is welcome news as it has never made much sense to decide games with a skills competition. The shootout may become a rare sight as offensive players should have no issue finding space with just six skaters on the ice.
A move to 3-on-3 may also lead to some unique situations. A penalty in OT would mean a bizarre 3-on-2 sequence. Along that line, would two penalties (an additional puck over glass call following a tripping call, for instance) lead to a 3-on-1?
We’ll have to wait for more details and for the Board to make a formal decision, but it sounds like 3-on-3 OT hockey is coming.