Ken Holland

Extended overtime likely to be on agenda in GMs’ March meeting


Going into today’s games, 12.57% of all 2013-14 contests have ended in a shootout. While the league likes having games end with both a definitive winner and in a timely manner, many general managers would still like to see fewer games end with the skills competition.

They’ve taken steps to reduce the importance of shootouts in the past in the hopes of motivating teams to play aggressively in overtime to avoid them. Most notably, the primary tiebreaker at the end of the season is wins minus those earned in a shootout.

Wanting to go further, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland is a long-time proponent of extending overtime to include a three-on-three section and that might be the direction we’re now moving in. If nothing else, it will probably be a topic of serious discussion at the general managers’ upcoming March meeting, according to the Canadian Press.

“In the past, it was generally touched on but deferred,” Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney said. “And I think as you go on with the parity of the league, I think we all have to take a harder look.”

Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford agrees that more of his colleagues seem to be warming to the idea, but there remains multiple viewpoints. For example, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong is in favor of extending the length of four-on-four overtime instead.

San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson would like to start smaller than that by having teams switch sides as is the case in the second period, which creates long changes and can lead to mistakes.

“I think that’s a natural evolution, myself,” Wilson said.

Regardless of what they decide, it could be one of the most noticeable alterations to the game in the coming years as the NHL’s complicated relationship with shootouts continues.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.