As a way to reduce the number of shootouts in the NHL, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland has been advocating the addition of 3-on-3 overtime (if nobody scores 4-on-4) for a while now.
Today, per ESPN’s Craig Custance, we learn that Holland’s idea seems to be gaining support from his counterparts around the league:
In the prospect tournament he runs in Traverse City, Michigan, Holland implemented his version of overtime. On Sunday, he and other general managers in the building got to see what it looked like in actual game action for the first time when the Dallas Stars’ prospects beat those from the Minnesota Wild in a shootout that followed the first 3-on-3 overtime session of the tournament.
The reviews of the 3-on-3 hockey were strong.
“It’s awesome. It was fun,” said Wild GM Chuck Fletcher. “Imagine Washington and Pittsburgh with [Sidney] Crosby, [Evgeni] Malkin, [Alex] Ovechkin, [Mike] Green, [Kris] Letang. Every line change is an odd-man rush.”
Bear in mind that he was the GM of the losing team.
Other observers were just as enthused.
“This has been a good test case,” said Carolina GM Jim Rutherford, who is in favor of the change. “And it looks good.”
While there are fans that enjoy the shootout — and certainly it’s produced some memorable moments…
… — the number of games decided by the “skills contest” isn’t just a concern for hockey purists; it’s also an issue for those concerned with basic fairness.
The fact is, a good hockey team isn’t necessarily going to be good at shootouts, just the same as a good hockey player isn’t necessarily going to be good at them. (There’s a reason Wayne Gretzky wasn’t chosen for the shootout in the 1998 Olympics when Team Canada fell to Dominik Hasek and the Czech Republic, even if many believe he should have been.)
As Holland put it earlier this year, “I’d like to have more games decided playing hockey.”