Is 3-on-3 hockey coming to NHL overtimes in the near future? It might, but the NHLPA currently has some concerns about the NHL adopting the new overtime format. The specific complaint involves additional wear and tear on the game’s best skaters.
Via USA Today, Mathieu Schneider on 3-on-3 hockey:
“My real concern is that top guys are going to be put in these situations, and there will be more wear and tear on them. We’ve seen over the years that rules that are implemented in leagues below and they don’t always have the intended effect when we bring them to the NHL because the players are more consistent and more talented,” Schneider said. “I’m not sure we would see the same results at the NHL level.”
The article also contained some comments from Drew Doughty who recently experienced some 3-on-3 OT hockey due to penalties.
“It was tiring, really tiring. You’d come back on defense and make a play and then it is continuous three-on-two, three-on-two. It’s tiring, but I think it would make overtimes finish quicker. With the way our team has been in the shootout (1-7), I think I could go with three-on-three.”
The AHL has been testing out an OT format in which the two teams play seven minutes of extra hockey. The first three minutes is the traditional 4-on-4 hockey which would then transition to 3-on-3 hockey for the final four minutes. It has been speculated that the NHL may adopt some form of 3-on-3 hockey like the AHL has in order to settle more games without a shootout.