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It doesn’t sound like 3-on-3 overtime is going to be a thing

Mar 10, 2014, 2:26 PM EDT

From’s Dan Rosen at the general managers meetings in Boca Raton:

That would be Red Wings GM Ken Holland who doesn’t think extended overtime (i.e. from five minutes to 10) is a possibility. Holland has been pushing for changes in order to reduce the number of shootouts deciding games.


Through Saturday, 14 percent of games played this season (135 of 963) ended in a shootout, and 40 percent of games that went to overtime reached a shootout. Shootouts were up slightly from last season (13.46 percent in 720 games played), but down from 2011-12 (14.72 percent), the last full NHL season. Since 2005-06, when the shootout was implemented, 13.3 percent of the 10,293 games played ended in a shootout.

Switching ends to create longer changes (and more tired players trapped on the ice) should help decide a few more games in overtime, and perhaps a dry scrape beforehand could, too. But considering the other options that were being considered, the potential changes for next season sound like they’ll be minimal.

Update: Here’s some video of the GMs talking:

  1. usher716 - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    Shootouts are fun to watch but both the shoot out and 4 and 4 seem a little gimmicky, what other sports changes the game/number of players for overtime? Hockey is not played 4 on 4 or 1 on 1. I would much rather see an different point system and 5 on 5/no shootout.

    • c9castine - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      One of the beauties of hockey is how any formats it can be played in and still be skilled on competitive. Shoo touts are a complete gimmick, not 4 on 4 in my opinion. No other sport compares to hockey either. Basketball is a bad point because of the amount of scoring. Easier to settle ties. Much easier. Soccer is just…they hardly score and it takes a Half hour to get to the other side of the field. I don’t know what to say about soccer. Great sport athletically, terrible entertainment value in my opinion.

      It seems the only way is a change in the points system, as much as I hate to say it.

    • rbbbaron - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      No other major sport has a penalty box or power play system either (yeah yeah, players can get booted in soccer, but going from 11 to 10 isn’t nearly as much of a difference as going from 5 to 4, or 4 to 3). The 4 on 4 play is only for regular season play; if you want 5 on 5 overtime w/o a shootout, you have to wait until April

    • chunkala - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      Hockey is a great sport but there’s nothing worse than the playoffs where every game goes to 1-6 OT periods. Installing 4 on 4 for OTs in playoffs would help end the game quicker. Players are playing the equivalent of 2 or 3 games sometimes, if thats going to be the case than why not just start the game at sudden death.

      You can’t really compare hockey to any other sport than soccer because the other sports have such a higher mean score and wider standard deviation of scores. Soccer’s mean and standard deviation of scoring is even smaller than hockey. Therefore, you have to come up with alternative ways to end the games quicker or else you could be there forever. I doubt anyone would disgaree that basketball and football games rarely go too long without establishing a winner. Baseball does it have it moments where games extend for another hour or so, but thats rare compared to playoff hockey.

      • joey4id - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        Nothing wrong with OT in the playoffs. It doesn’t need to be fixed. Matter of fact it adds to the excitement. Many of the games best moments are derived from OT goals in the playoffs.

        If memory serves me correctly Montreal won 10 OT games on 1993, setting a new NHL record, and won the SC.

      • penguins87and71 - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        I don’t have a problem with OT in the Playoffs. I think that’s what makes the NHL Playoffs great. When my team is in a OT playoff game, I’m on the edge of my seat every shift. The most memorable games in the NHL have occured in OT in the NHL Playoffs.

      • c9castine - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:49 PM

        Ill tell you right now man your not going to get much support for changing playoff hockey.

      • narfmoo12 - Mar 10, 2014 at 6:17 PM

        I completely agree with the penguins fans. Overtime playoff hockey is literally the greatest thing in sports. It makes me regret all the pizza and fried food I eat during the year.

      • shortsxit34 - Mar 10, 2014 at 8:15 PM

        Sorry, but I really hope that was you that gave your comment the thumbs up. I can’t imagine this message board even having a second person that wants playoff overtime changed. That’s just…sacrilegious.

      • blkeskimo1785 - Mar 10, 2014 at 8:31 PM

        Blasphemy, perhaps?

  2. rbbbaron - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    So a dry scrape instead of 5 more minutes of exciting play?…

    • rbbbaron - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      Ah ok, now I get it. More time to run advertisements…

  3. mshantz22 - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Instead of fixing the problem, the league is going do nothing? Great.

    • JoeAvg - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      Please fix my horn, my brakes don’t work!

    • paperlions - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      Maybe they just don’t view it as much of a problem.

  4. patthehockeyfan - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    You asked: But how does creating a long change in overtime sound?

    Sounds stupid.

    Extend OT to 10 minutes – I don’t care if it’s 4 on 4, or 5 on 5. If the shootout stays (which I hate), at least stop rewarding a point to the losing team. Winner gets 2; loser zero.

    Oh, yeah. 3 on 3 sounds even dumber.

    • rje49 - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:58 PM

      3 on 3 wouldn’t be too bad until you consider what getting a penalty means – 3 on 2.

  5. blues1988 - Mar 10, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    i don’t understand “isn’t a possibility”, says who? if something needs fixed in the NHL, let the NHL fix it. i bet most gm’s, coaches, and players all agree there has to be something better than a shootout.

    • stakex - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      Obviously the other GM’s and owners say its not going to happen, that’s who…. and that was only referring to adding minutes to overtime. That doesn’t mean its not possible SOMETHING will be done.

  6. sippindasyzurp - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    Clearly everyone knows there an issue here.. I guess the owners and or GM’s do not like being told how to run a business..

    I do think the first thing that should be looked at even before OT is changing a regulation win to 3 points. An OT or shootout win to 2 points and only if it goes to a shootout will the loser get 1 point.

    Would be interesting if someone came up with a picture of the standings right now using this method to see how much different they would look.

  7. penguins87and71 - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    So I’m guessing this means the shootout stays? I think a good compromise could be have a 10-15 minute OT 4 on 4, and if none of the teams score go to a shootout.

  8. slaugin - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    IMO extend 4v4 to 10 mins if a team scores in OT 2 points for the winner 0 for the loser if no one scores – shootout (not a fan but it doesn’t bother me as much as others especially since it’s reg season) winner gets 2 loser gets 1 point

  9. wjarvis - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    4 on 4 is something that happens somewhat regularly during normal game play, so while its a little bit of gimmick, it’s not completely abnormal. Going to a 3 on 3 or the shootout are complete gimmicks and personally I don’t really like either idea. If they keep the shootout and a 2 point system, then they should get rid of the loser point in overtime, and if the game goes to a shootout both teams should get 1 point, and number of shootout wins can then become the first tie breaker. Right now I think teams are rewarded way too much for a shootout win. In this case every game will be worth 2 points, but will have a winner. Personally I’d rather have a 3 point system since a regulation win should be worth more , but I don’t think that is happening anytime soon.

    • penguins87and71 - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      I don’t know. I think, like you said they should get rid of the loser point in OT. However I think if a team wins in regulation the winning team would get 2 points and the losing team would get 0 points. If the game goes to OT or the shootout the wininning team gets 1 point and the losing team gets 0 points.

      • wjarvis - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        To me if the game goes to a shootout then the teams tied the hockey game. The winner of the gimmick shouldn’t be overly rewarded and the loser shouldn’t be punished. So a team that doesn’t lose until the shootout should get a point.

  10. stakex - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    That fact of the matter is that in any given five minute window in the NHL, when you have two teams playing even no matter what the circumstances (5v5, 4v4), the odds of a goal being scored are about 40/60… and that holds pretty true in OT (about 55% of games that go to OT, result in a shootout). Adding a dry scrape and a long change might result in a slight statistical bump in OT goals, but its not going to dramatically reduce the amount of shootouts since both teams will still be playing even.

    Going to 3 on 3 might have the desired effect of increasing OT goals at least in the short term, but only because teams never practice 3v3. Teams adapt though, and defenses would be developed to combat the limited man power…. and there is no promise that such a major change would even result in more goals over the long term.

    So if limiting the amount of shootouts is the goal and longer OT is off the table, the only thing that’s really going to do that is simple: Get rid of the shootout. As long as you have two teams playing each other at even strength for only 5 minutes, no matter what that strength is or what little gimmicks you add in, a lot of games are still going to be going to a shootout. If that’s not acceptable, get rid of the shootout… otherwise you’re going to have to accept that the current percentage of games going to the shootout is where its going to stay.

    • shortsxit34 - Mar 10, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      “55% of games that go to OT result in a shootout?”

      The article says 40%.

  11. izlez - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    I don’t like it. I think long changes will just make it worse, with teams playing safer and more defensive making sure to not make a mistake that will lose them the game, rather than playing aggressive and trying to win it

  12. tdrusher225 - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    This is like when they thought the shallower nets were going to make a significant difference in scoring. It’s better than nothing, but it’s going to have such a minimal effect.

  13. tdrusher225 - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    This is like when they thought the shallower nets were going to make a significant difference in scoring. It’s better than nothing, but it’s going to have such a minimal effect.

  14. hockeydon10 - Mar 10, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    It’s not the length of overtime. It’s not the number of players. It’s not the long change. It’s not the shootout. It’s the point system.

    Part way through the 3rd period players realize they can get a point even in a loss if they play it safe. That means taking fewer chances with two fore-checkers. That means a lone fore-checker doesn’t chase behind the opposition goal as readily. That means less D pinching in. That means fewer risky passes or plays. That means fewer big hits for fear of taking a penalty. That loss of intensity is what sucks.

    The point system should be set up to disincentive this playing it safe mentality.

    The first thing that has to go is the loser point. It struck me that one of the arguments for getting rid of ties was “having no winner was like kissing your sister, nobody wins.” Well, awarding a loser point means both teams win, just to varying degrees. In fact the only losers are teams not playing in a game that ends with a loser point being awarded.” Seems patently unfair to both reward the loser AND punish every other team in that conference.

    2 points for a regulation or overtime win, 0 points for a loss. That’s it. Suck it up.

    Regardless of what one hopes to see happen, we should all realize they’re not going to get rid of the shootout. Not enough people turning the TV off when a shootout occurs. Also, virtually nobody leaves the stadium when a shootout is happening. The powers that be also really like the short commercial break between the end of OT and the shootout (more revenue).

    Having said that, we can still make modifications so that ROW is more important than a shootout win. Loser still gets no points (the ‘you lost, suck it up’ argument). Shootout winner gets one point.

    Not only does this point system punish the loser instead of rewarding them, it also removes the punishment of the other conference teams, and forces teams to play like mad until the final OT buzzer, knowing that less points from a SO win could affect the end of season standings.

    • hockeydon10 - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:54 PM

      A quick calculation shows how the conference standings would look under this suggestion and their points (top 8 bold).

      Eastern: Bos (82), Pitt (79), NYR (66), Montreal (65), Philly (63), CBJ (62), TB (62), Toronto (59), NJ (56), Det (54), Ottawa (53), Carolina (53), DC (52), NYI (42), Florida (41), Buffalo (32)

      Western: Anaheim (84), St. Louis (80), Colorado (79), San Jose (73), Chicago (71), LA (68), Minny (61), Dallas (59), Van (55), Winnipeg (54), Phoenix (54), Nash (51), Calgary (46), Edmonton (42)

      • wjarvis - Mar 10, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        The truth is that if you recalculate the standings using any of the proposed systems (including the ones I’ve suggested) there is very little change if any in the teams that would make the playoffs. As you show above the exact 16 teams would make the playoffs as the current setup. The seeds would be slightly different, but 7 of the teams that would be hosting a playoff series in the current system would also be hosting one with yours.

        Current system (BOS vs CLB; Pit vs TB; NYR vs PHI; MON vs TOR)
        Your system (BOS vs TOR; Pit vs CLB; MON vs TB; NYR vs PHI)

        Current system (STL vs DAL; ANA vs MIN; CHI vs COL; SJ vs LA)
        Your system (ANA vs DAL; STL vs MIN; COL vs CHI; SJ vs LA)

        So is the system perfect, no it’s not. However, is there really a problem? Probably not as far a determining who makes the playoffs.

    • wjarvis - Mar 10, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      While I agree that the problem is giving incentive for teams to win in regulation instead of overtime, and then in overtime instead of the shootout, I don’t really like all of your plan.

      I have a huge problem saying that losing in a shootout is the same as losing in regulation or overtime. Though I agree that winners shouldn’t be rewarded as much.

      The reality of the NHL is that right now there are three distinct ways to win a game: in regulation, via a partial gimmick in a 4 on 4 overtime, or via a complete gimmick in the shootout. Right now there is almost no incentive to win a game earlier than a shootout. Yes there is a chance it will be used as a tie breaker, but unless two teams are tied in points at the end of the season, there is no difference in a shootout win vs a regulation win. In my mind there should be a different reward for each of these types of wins.

      Giving 3 points for a regulation win, and 2 points for a overtime win gives incentive to play hard until the end of regulation. If you lose in regulation or overtime you get 0 points. If the game is tied at the end of overtime the game goes to a shootout, but both teams get 1 point and number of shootout wins becomes the first tiebreaker at the end of the season. I think people will still watch the shootout even if they diminish it’s importance in the standings so the league will still get it’s revenue.

  15. zinger99 - Mar 10, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    I swear,the Republicans must be running this league. What a mess.

  16. rockyspond - Mar 10, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    Seems like today’s comments are all about tinkering with a system that is designed to produce a winner. Is that because the NHL derives revenue from gambling on games ( Sports Select games in Canada?), and needs a definitive result? I don’t have any real problem with the current system, but i’ll throw out a couple of suggestions just because I feel a need to be ridiculed today.
    (1) Why bother with an overtime period at all? Just go directly to a shootout, but with 5 shooters-at least two of whom (incl. one of the first two) must be defencemen-. This may address the concerns of those who believe the game should be decided by 5 on 5 action. If it is still tied after 5 rounds , each team gets a point; otherwise the winner gets 2 and the loser gets 1. No extra shooters after the five.
    (2) The NFL tinkered with their OT games to give more weight to TD’s than field goals, so how about a wrinkle of our own that has some similarity and allows for team play ? No shootout at all; just one full 10 minute OT period – not sudden death- after a break for a dry scrape. If a team wins the OT by 2 or more goals they get 2 points and the loser gets 0; a winner by 1 goal gets 2 points and the loser gets 1. A tie after the 10 minutes gets each team 1 point. Given all the time it takes now to play a 5-minute OT followed by a shootout, a full 10 minute OT wouldn’t send the folks home much later, if at all. This system should provide more motivation to both teams to produce a winner in regulation, since they would be at risk of losing a point in OT.

  17. shortsxit34 - Mar 10, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    What’s wrong with the IIHF 3-point system?
    3 for Regulation win / 0 for regulation loss
    2 for OT or Shootout win / 1 for OT or Shootout loss

    First, each game is worth the same amount of points. Whether or not that would have a huge impact on the standings, it’s never made sense that some games are worth more points than other points.

    3 Points for Winning in Regulation – 0 Points for losing
    It rewards teams for winning in regulation by giving them the extra point, so teams have an incentive to win in regulation rather than sitting back until OT.

    2 Points for an OT win – 1 Point for an OT loss
    It rewards the losing team for playing through regulation by giving them the point; the winning team is still rewarded for winning the game, but not as much as a team that ended it in regulation.

  18. pwshrugged - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Still wondering why they had to change from the old format. Maybe fans found ties to be anticlimactic, but in the end, there was a beautiful symmetry in the old format, and it worked. I never had a problem with a hard-fought game (and OT) resulting in a tie and 1 point per side. Honestly, I find shootouts to be more disappointing to watch than a tie. There’s no greater spectacle in sports than overtime hockey.

    I never thought the 3-on-3 would gain traction; what happens if there’s a penalty? 3-on-2? That’s silly. Maybe even sillier than shootouts. Maybe.

    5 minute overtime, 4-on-4, go back to ties, and none of these “3-point games”. Get rid of the shootout garbage. It’s that simple. But the NHL doesn’t do simple. This is, after all, the league with two conferences, one of which has 16 teams, and one of which has 14. And the same league that named one of it’s conferences the “Metropolitan.” Le sigh.

  19. slaugin - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    I know this would never happen but what if the shootout was 2 offensive players Vs a DMan and Goaile? Takes away from the 1 on 1 situation people tend to complain about and makes it a little more team like

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