Last month, the NHL might’ve taken steps to try to reduce the number of games decided by the shootout by introducing three-on-three overtime, however commissioner Gary Bettman remains steadfast in keeping the deciding skills competition.
“I think to the extent some people wanted to see fewer shootouts, this will get us there, and that’s fine. The shootout isn’t going anywhere,” Bettman told the Boston Globe.
“You go to a building during a shootout, everybody’s on their feet, nobody is leaving, which is what it was designed to do. It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s entertaining, and so if we’re going to try and reduce the number of shootouts, this may do it.”
The league’s board of governors in late-June approved three-on-three overtime for the full five minutes of the extra period, opting not to use the AHL method, which was to begin OT at four-on-four before moving to three-on-three if there was no winner decided after three minutes.
With the three-on-three method, the AHL saw 75 per cent of games that went beyond regulation time decided in overtime, which was a substantial increase from the previous season, according to NHL.com.
Still, the shootout remains a polarizing way to decide a winner and loser in the NHL. While its been blasted in the past by coaches — John Tortorella hates the shootout — and executives, Bettman has maintained that fans like the shootout.
It’s been a busy summer for the San Jose Sharks, as they look to get back to the playoffs after failing to qualify this past spring.
The Sharks and general manager Doug Wilson acquired goalie Martin Jones and then signed him to a three-year contract extension. They also signed veteran forward Joel Ward and defenseman Paul Martin.
However, with the new additions, it’s the core group of players, including Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, that forward Logan Couture seems to believe in as San Jose looks to get back to the post-season, despite what has been an overall lack of success that time of year.
“I talked to Doug a couple times throughout the summer, and we want to win,” Couture told The Hockey News.
“San Jose does. That’s our goal. We realize our best players, Jumbo and Patty, are getting a little bit older. I think we have the core to win, and Doug went out and got some very good players. Paul, Martin Jones, Joel, they’re just going to help us.”
The Nashville Predators signed Jack Dougherty to a three-year entry level contract in a deal announced Friday, and it looks like the young defenseman’s next stop will be in Portland.
According to the Predators, it’s expected Dougherty will play for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League next season.
Selected in the second round, 51st overall, of the 2014 NHL Draft, Dougherty played last season for the University of Wisconsin, recording nine points in 28 games, which put him into a tie for fourth amongst Big Ten freshman defensemen in points.
It appears Zenon Konopka, who in May of 2014 was handed a 20-game suspension for violating terms of the NHL-NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program, isn’t ready to call it a career just yet.
From the Buffalo Hockey Beat:
Konopka’s unique skill set could be an intriguing option for some teams. In addition to fighting regularly in the NHL, he was also one of the best faceoff men. In the AHL, a league he’s willing to return to, he was also top playmaker.
“I had a good time in that league,” Konopka said. “It’s a lot different being put in big situations. So you kind of miss that. It’s a closer league down there. Guys are younger. You’re on the road, on the bus. You kind of miss that as hockey players.”
When the suspension was announced, Konopka, through a statement from the NHLPA, accepted responsibility for his actions but maintained he did not know the substance he ingested was in violation of the league’s program.
Konopka’s last NHL game was back on April 13, 2014, as a member of the Buffalo Sabres. He fought Brett Gallant of the New York Islanders on that night.
In 346 NHL regular season games, Konopka scored 12 goals and 30 points, while getting dinged for 1,082 penalty minutes.
The Washington Capitals added organizational depth along their blue line, signing 26-year-old defenseman Ryan Stanton to a one-year, two-way contract in a deal announced Friday.
The Vancouver Canucks, having signed left-shooting defenseman Luca Sbisa to a contract extension this past season, didn’t tender Stanton a qualifying offer, eventually turning him into an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
From Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post:
An undrafted free agent who parlayed three American Hockey League seasons into his NHL debut with Chicago in 2012-13, Stanton will likely bring a veteran presence to an expectedly young blue line in Hershey, where three professional rookies — Madison Bowey, Tyler Lewington and Christian Djoos — will compete for time. Mike Moore, Erik Burgdoerfer and Connor Carrick round out the corps.
The Canucks, under former GM Mike Gillis, claimed Stanton off waivers from Chicago just prior to the start of the 2013-14 season. He showed potential in his first few months with Vancouver, before suffering an ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup for more than a month.
In 118 career games with the Canucks over two seasons, Stanton scored four goals and 27 points.