Predators coach Peter Laviolette concedes that 3-on-3 overtime, which the NHL has confirmed for the upcoming season, will be a “learning on the fly” kind of thing.
“All of it presents new challenges,” Laviolette told The Tennessean. “Anytime, I think, that rule changes come into play, you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to handle those rule changes, how you’re going to address them with your team. I think we’ll get there. We’ll figure that out once we get going.”
At the very least, Laviolette can consult with the organization’s AHL coach, Dean Evason, in Milwaukee. The AHL introduced 3-on-3 overtime last season.
According to Evason, the key was keeping players fresh, because if “you’re tired on 3-on-3, the ice surface is so big, you can get exposed very quickly.”
In a related story, the risk for the NHL is that coaches do what coaches do and find a way to coach the offense out of 3-on-3. As we’ve learned watching international hockey, more time and space doesn’t always lead to more goals. When coaches are worried about getting “exposed,” they can get pretty conservative.
That being said, it’s hard to see how 3-on-3 overtime doesn’t achieve its goal of reducing the number of shootouts. How sizable a reduction is the big unknown.