How is the hockey 3 on 3 overtime rule change working out?

3-on-3 rule change in the NHL

Hockey season is back along with some new and improved rules for the 2015-2016 NHL season. This year the overtime period, usually played 4 on 4, will now be played 3 on 3. The national hockey league feels that 3 on 3 overtimes will be more entertaining for the fans and will help decide games with fewer shootouts.

Hockey-3-on-3-BNotice all the open ice with 3 on 3 hockey.

The NHL is hoping they have the same success as the AHL had in 2014-15 season. By adding a 3-on-3 element to its format, the American Hockey League had 75% of overtime games decided with a goal without a need for a shootout. A huge rise from the 35% in 2013-14, when they played under a 4-on-4 overtime format.

We do custom printed hockey uniforms for many teams in Toronto and we were curious how the new 3 on 3 rule is working out.

From the 2003-2004 season up until this current season overtime hockey has been played 4 on 4 and before that it was played 5 on 5 but with that amount of players on the ice it was not allowing as many overtime wins as the NHL wanted.

In the seasons from 2005-2015, of all past-regulation games 56% of them have ended in a shootout. The NHL feels that overtime wins should be way more common than what they were. With 3 on 3 overtime, there will be a lot more strategy, odd man rushes and more overtime wins.

So far as of Dec 1st 2015 the 3 on 3 format has been a success. As you can see from the chart below games have been decided by an overtime goal 68% of the time this 2015-2016 season compared with 56% last year.

Hockey ChartChart source:

The NHL stated that the purpose for this change is to lessen the amount of shootouts. They want the game to move faster and be more interesting for everyone. The players were asked their thoughts on the new rules and most said that 3 on 3 overtime is going to make the game more interesting. Steven Stamkos from the Tampa Bay Lightning said in an interview “I’m terrible at shootouts so I’m excited to play 3 on 3 overtime.” Most players feel that way except for the goalies. The goalies have their work cut out for them. Since there is more open space on the ice, the players with speed will have more opportunities for odd man rushes which results in many more good opportunities to score. The goalies will need to be able to stop all the shots without help from defense-man.

Overall this is a huge change to the league and for the players. They will have to learn new plays and new ways to defend the odd man rush. Throughout the season we’ll all have to see how it works out. But for now coaches, players and most fans feel very optimistic huge change.

Not everyone is a fan of the new format, the reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson a defense-man for the Ottawa Senators feels it’s not really hockey. He says “It’s not really hockey. It’s whoever holds on to the puck longest and whoever cheats the most. Small stuff like that. Kinda boring… I don’t really know what extra purpose it serves other than getting players extra tired. I don’t see why we would keep it.”

But the league and the fans seem to like the speed and excitement so we should expect the 3 on 3 to continue into the future.

How do you like the 3 on 3 overtime? Leave a comment below.

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