Most hockey fans around the league have taken a liking to the NHL’s new three-on-three overtime format.
The extra space on the ice allows players and coaches to get creative and forces them to approach the extra frame with a different strategy. The pace of play increases and there are usually several odd-man rushes if the period lasts more than a few seconds.
If you’re a fan of this new wrinkle, you’re not the only one, but don’t expect the Winnipeg Jets to agree with you.
A day after losing to Tampa Bay in overtime, defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was critical of the new format.
“It’s terrible. It’s a terrible part of hockey. It’s not hockey,” said Byfuglien. “”It ain’t hockey. It’s ‘Just let the kids play.’ It’s stupid.”
Byfuglien’s coach, Paul Maurice, offered a similar perspective, but even he admitted that a three-on-three overtime period is better than having a game decided by a shootout.
“The hockey players, and I think this is true of the whole league, want to play five-on-five,” Maurice said. “And second to that, four-on-four because it’s more of the team-game concept. The idea that more goals get scored to keep us away from the shootout is still preferred.”
Friday’s loss to Tampa Bay ended with Ondrej Palat burying a 3-on-1 opportunity just 36 seconds into overtime. Had the Jets won, maybe they’d be singing a different tune.