The positive reviews for 3-on-3 overtime keep coming.
“I think it’s great,” said Chicago prospect Teuvo Teravainen, currently skating for AHL Rockford. “I think I can play the whole four minutes. It’s fun.”
As you may know, the AHL is experimenting with 3-on-3 play as a way to reduce the number of shootouts that have been deciding games. So far, it’s been working. And on top of that, it’s apparently been quite enjoyable to watch.
“It’s definitely exciting for the fans and you get to see guys’ skill really come out in those situations,” said Toronto Marlies coach Gord Dineen. “They have the puck on their stick a lot more and guys get a little more creative.”
“At least [the game is] decided in play and it’s not just a 1-on-1 situation,” added Dineen. “It’s a team game and so 3-on-3 certainly brings a lot more of the team aspect of it than a shootout.”
Whether the NHL ever adopts 3-on-3 overtime remains to be seen. It’s still early in the AHL experiment, and unintended consequences may arise.
Here’s one possible drawback: time wasting.
Let’s say a team is good at shootouts and would rather try its luck in the breakaway competition than in sudden death. Well, it’s a lot easier to rag the puck in a 3-on-3 situation compared to 5-on-5 or 4-on-4.
“It’s not too much forechecking,” said Marlies forward Trevor Smith. “It’s a lot of man-on-man and zone time and just controlling the pace.”
At any rate, time wasting doesn’t seem to have been an issue in the AHL. So far, only nine of the 45 OT games have required the shootout.
Update: Handy infographic here, from the AHL…