3 on 3 Overtime brings a fresh perspective
Since its “inception” in the 2005-06 season where games would finally be decided with a win or a loss, the shootout has been widely ridiculed from the hockey community. Having a game that is still tied after the five-minute overtime session be settled in a gimmick was certainly a problem that needed a solution.
Nothing has changed about the shootout and it will still be intact for the foreseeable future, but its impact will most certainly be lessened thanks to the addition of 3 on 3 overtime for the 2015-16 season.
“I’ve never really been a fan of the shootout so anything you can do to get rid of shootouts is fine by me,” Bruins President Cam Neely said during Thursday’s Media Day Press Conference.
With its success after it was implemented in the AHL last season (after three minutes of 4 on 4 play during a seven-minute extra session), 3 on 3 overtime should provide more entertaining and higher quality hockey in the extra session. The stats alone should be a good indicator of what to expect with 3 on 3 OT. Seventy-five percent of games were decided with the addition of 3 on 3 play in the minors last year. Under the NHL’s system last year, only 44 percent of games were decided in the five-minute 4 on 4 overtime session.
Need any more indication of the shootout’s negative impact last season? Look no further than the Black and Gold, who went 4-10 in the glorified skills competition. Although it wasn’t the main reason why they failed to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time under Claude Julien, that 4-10 mark certainly didn’t help things for the Black and Gold.
Same can be said for the LA Kings, who became the second team in the post 2004-05 lockout era to miss the postseason a year after winning the Stanley Cup. They went 2-8 in the shootout and fell two points short of Calgary for eighth in the West (and third in the Pacific Division).
“Well I think it’s an exciting part of the game,” said new General Manager Don Sweeney, who served as an assistant GM and GM of the Providence Bruins last season. “Obviously I saw the impact last year that it made at the AHL level, where the vast majority of games — 75 percent I think — were completed in overtime, rather than going to the shootout. The shootout will be there if it’s needed.”
With a new format comes new challenges, particularly for goaltenders adapting to open ice.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of 2-on-1’s and stuff like that,” said Tuukka Rask. “So that will be a challenge in itself. Hopefully, we can score a lot of goals in overtime so there won’t have to be any shootouts.”
This preseason, the league scheduled each team to have three games with 3 on 3 overtime, regardless of the end result. Some teams, like the Bruins, had a couple of extra looks at the new format after tying the Rangers and Red Wings at the end of regulation over a week ago.
There were plenty of opportunities that presented itself. From the open ice to odd man rushes and special teams situations. It was also a chance for Julien to tinker his lines. More often than not, he would go with three forwards or two forwards and a puck moving defenseman — like Torey Krug.
A pair of preseason games went to a shootout, but for the most part, the 3 on 3 overtime ended quickly for the Bruins, including an exhibition contest vs. the Capitals that ended a mere 12 seconds into the extra session off the stick of David Pastrnak.
With numerous situations that can present itself, it goes to show that anything can happen with 3 on 3 overtime.
“The 3 on 3 is going to be exciting,” said Bruins newcomer and Dorchester’s own Jimmy Hayes. “It’s going to be a chance for some talented players to be given an opportunity to be able to end it. That first night Pastrnak and [David] Krejci ended it in 12 seconds, but I think every team has those guys that can end overtime and I think that’s going to have a lot of different strategies that being felt out.”