NHL General Managers Recommend 3-on-3 Overtime, Video Review Be Added Next Season
The NHL General Managers' meetings in Florida resulted in some recommendations a lot of fans, players and coaches can get behind.
Every year around this time, the general managers around the National Hockey League meet in Florida for their usual tee times meetings. One of the topics that is always brought up around this time are any changes to play for the next season.
This is the meeting where seemingly every year the NHL discusses shootouts and decides not to do anything different with them. These meetings in the past have given us the change in ice scraping policy, the change to the size of the nets, and probably even that glowing puck fiasco we all really want to forget.
Luckily, the proposed changes this year seem to be more like "FINALLY!" types of changes than like "WUT?" changes. Let's look at each one.
The proposal: 3-on-3 overtime
The goal of implementing a 3-on-3 format in overtime is to limit the number of games decided in a shootout. The league doesn't want to get rid of the shootout altogether (so your dream of sudden death overtime until there is a winner in a regular season game can be shut down completely). But they do want to limit the number of games that get to a shootout so that it's more "special". (Side note: want to make it even more special? Make it so that you can repeat shooters. I want to see TJ Sochi all over again because that was hilarious.)
But how would the 3-on-3 overtime work?
They didn't really have an answer to that one yet. There are two options being considered:
1) Start overtime at 3-on-3 (versus the current 4-on-4) and if no winner after five minutes, then the shootout would commence.
2) Implement an overtime schema similar to the AHL this season. Overtime would start in the current 4-on-4 look, but would last for only three minutes instead of the current five. It would switch to 3-on-3 after the first whistle past the three-minute mark, assuming no one has scored until then.
The hot sports opinion:
Overtime hockey is one of the most intense periods of play in a game, in my view. Moving to a 3-on-3 is going to create so much open ice, and the thought of a Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - John Klingberg trio given that much space to create offense is quite literally drool-inducing.
But, I don't think that moving to a straight 3-on-3 would be my preferred way to go. I'd rather see them implement the AHL's version. Honestly though, does it even matter when your team can't seem to figure OT out to begin with? Signed, Dallas Stars fans this season.
The proposal: Video review for removal of the delay of game penalty for shooting the puck out of play
No longer shall shooting the puck out of play from your own zone earn you an automatic two minute stint in the box if the video shows you didn't actually commit the crime.
The hot sports opinion:
Defensemen, rejoice! For your penalty minutes shall decrease in number (especially you, Jordie Benn). I think we've seen enough of these that get called wrong (the puck went out off of the other team's stick but the ref saw your team's player with his stick in the same general vicinity, so they get penalized for it) for it to be worth a video review to get it right. Especially at those critical points in a game, like calling a delay of game penalty in OT, say (*looking at you there, Tyler Seguin*).
The proposal: Limited video review for goalie interference on scoring plays
The NHL would add a limited video-replay challenge that would be issued by a coach to review scoring plays involving the potential presence of goaltender interference. There's still a lot to be determined yet on how this one would be implemented.
Number one on that list? What, exactly, is goaltender interference? The current definition is very broad and open to interpretation -- could we see more clarity added to that call in regards to how a video review for that would work? Almost nobody understands that rule fully which is why it has an entire table all its own in the rule book and nobody can truly recite the rule. If you need that many addendums, maybe the issue is the rule itself, just saying.
The hot sports opinion:
Where was this earlier this season? I can think of at least two clear instances of goaltender interference involving Kari Lehtonen being interfered where the other team scored and the goal stood because the referee didn't call the goaltender interference.
Plus, there are video reviews in most other major sports, and the NHL kind of looks silly having only the option of Toronto being able to issue one and not have a way for the coach to challenge it.
Not to mention I'd love to see Patrick Roy's first coach's challenge due to goaltender interference. I bet that would make for some great entertainment.