An NHL Rule Change I'd Like to See: Three-on-Three Overtime

Bruce Bennett

Personally, I think that having one less man on the ice during an overtime period would make things more interesting, as it could potentially create more end-to-end play. This could also possibly decrease the number of games that need to be resolved by a shootout (which I know many of you, myself included, would appreciate).

Hello, Wilderness!

Today, I am going to give you my thoughts on the way the NHL currently does an overtime period, and what I think could be done to change it.

Here's the NHL's current rule on overtime periods:

84.1 Overtime – Regular-season - During regular-season games, if at the end of the three (3) regular twenty (20) minute periods, the score shall be tied, each team shall be awarded one point in the League standings.

The teams will then play an additional overtime period of not more than five (5) minutes with the team scoring first declared the winner and being awarded an additional point. The overtime period shall be played with each team at a numerical strength of four (4) skaters and one (1) goalkeeper.

Most of you may think this is fine the way it is, but wouldn't it be interesting if the NHL considered implementing a three-on-three overtime instead of the current four-on-four?

This idea was first brought up by the Detroit Red Wings GM, Ken Holland. You can read his thoughts about this idea in this article from the Globe and Mail.

Personally, I think that having one less man on the ice during an overtime period would make things more interesting, as it could potentially create more end-to-end play. This could also possibly decrease the number of games that need to be resolved by a shootout (which I know many of you, myself included, would appreciate).

The idea of three-on-three overtime could be implemented in one of two ways.

The three-on-three could just replace the existing four-on-four, or there could be a four-on-four period (like it is right now), and then a three-on-three period should the game not be decided in the first four-on-four OT period.

If either team fails to end the game in one of two of these ways, a shootout would still happen.

What do you think about this idea, Wilderness?

Should the NHL plan to reconsider how the overtime period is done during the regular season, which one of these two methods should they look in to?

Let me know your thoughts in the poll and comments below.

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