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NHL GMs happy with idea of 3-on-3 OT, coach’s challenge system

On Tuesday, the second day of the NHL GM’s annual March meeting, they discussed the idea of a 3-on-3 OT format for the NHL. The consensus is that, while the shootout is here to stay (much to the disdain of many fans around the league), they want to reduce the number of games that end up decided by a shootout.

It’s been said by fans since shortly after the implementation of the shootout that the “skills competition isn’t hockey”, and that “hockey is a team sport, and should not be decided by individual efforts”. The number of games ending in shootouts in the NHL has gone up gradually every year, so the GMs are looking for a way to bring it back down, while keeping the shootout as a part of the game. There are only two things left to be done now in regards to 3-on-3 OT: they must decide on a format, and the NHL/NHLPA’s “competition committee” have to sign off on it as well.

It’s been tossed around that the NHL could use the AHL’s format for 3-on-3 OT that has been implemented this season, where they play three minutes of standard 4-on-4 OT, and after that, once/if there’s a stop in play, they go to 3-on-3 for the remainder of the OT period. If no one scores in that frame, then they move to the shootout. The AHL has cut down on games going to shootouts by 40% this season with the new 3-on-3 format, which are the kind of results the NHL GMs would like to see. But they understand the variance in view of the shootout among the league’s fans. Via BrandonSun.com:

“The shootout is very good for the fans, and it’s an enjoyable part of the game, but (for) hockey purists or when playoff points are on the line, maybe more games being finished with more players on the ice than a one-on-one competition is something we’ll look to do,” said Doug Armstrong of the St. Louis Blues.

The other big matter discussed and agreed upon on Tuesday was the idea of a coach’s challenge system for puck-over-the-glass delay of game penalties, and for goaltender interference. A coach would have the chance to use a challenge on a goaltender interference call only if a goal is scored on the play, and he still has a timeout to use. The hope is that this will help the league “make the right call” more times than not, but it will ultimately still be up to the referees to review the video and make the judgment call. Detroit Red Wings fans have a fresh example in mind of where this system would be helpful, when Luke Glendening was called for goaltender interference against Braden Holtby and had a Drew Miller goal negated, even though Glendening never touched him.

While the goaltender interference challenges would be at the discretion of the referee after video review, if a coach were to challenge a delay of game penalty for a puck going over the glass, it would be immediately reviewed in Toronto. The hockey arenas just are not equipped enough to be able to adequately review plays like that, so they would leave it to the discretion of the War Room to review and rule upon.

It was also decided, along with the video review for goaltender interference, that all questionable OT goals scored would be immediately reviewed, but commissioner Gary Bettman admitted that some of the details on that still needed to be fine-tuned.

What do you think, Nation? Are all of these changes good for the NHL as a whole, and will they ultimately help lead NHL officials to “make the right call” more often?

What do you think?

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