How growing support in the NHL for longer 3-on-3 overtime and fewer shootouts could affect stars

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Troy Terry made a name for himself in hockey with his penalty kick prowess for the USA at the 2017 junior world championships against Russia, just as TJ Oshie did at the Olympics some years before.

Still, the Anaheim Ducks All-Star wouldn’t mind seeing fewer of them decide NHL games.

A movement is growing to play more than five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime during the regular season in hopes of reducing the number of shots. The implementation of 3v3 has already significantly reduced the frequency with which games are decided by firefight.

Two-time NHL MVP and four-time scoring champion Connor McDavid has spoken out in favor of longer overtime, and it’s clear he’s not alone.

“3-on-3 overtime in general is great for this game,” Terry said. “It’s fun for us. It feels more like hockey than going to the shootout.”

Recency bias certainly clouds the conversation for some. Jason Robertson is against a longer overtime after he and the Stars lost three straight before halftime. Dallas has won just three of its 13 games that have gone longer than 60 minutes.

The NHL implemented the shootout in 2005-06 as a result of a lockout that ended an entire season, removing ties that had been a part of the league for decades. Continuous 5-on-5 overtime in the playoffs is not considered to be abandoned until the game-winning goal is scored.

The shootout was intended to liven up regular season games, but in 2015 the NHL had what it considered a problem: 13% of its regular season games, 160 in all, ended in a shootout after five minutes of play. 4 vs 4 game. Did not produce a decisive goal.

After some experimentation in the American Hockey League, the league approved 3-on-3 OT and that number plummeted to 8% last season.

He’s down to 6.5% so far this season – 51 of 803 games at half-time, with the 3-on-3 All-Star tournament on Saturday another chance to show how effective he is – but that’s still too much for a lot of people. . the sport.

“Anytime you get a chance to decide the outcome of the game in a team atmosphere, I think it’s more indicative of the structure of the game,” Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I know the shootout is exciting and has entertainment value, but for me it’s deciding the outcome of a baseball game with a home run derby.”

The NHL is far from the only one playing with how games end in the regular season. Major League Baseball started each extra-inning half with a runner on second in 2020, while the NFL cut overtime from 15 to 10 minutes and tweaked the way games end by giving each team a chance to score a touchdown. .

McDavid, who told Sportsnet in Canada that “nobody wants to see the game over in a shootout,” acknowledged the potential drain on more 3v3 games. If he and other players are willing to take that on, there’s a good chance that the league seriously consider extending overtime.

“I think you’ll see goals scored in the last 5 minutes if you play those extra 5 minutes,” Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones said. “(The shooting is) exciting for the fans. I understand why we do it. You work for 65 minutes and play a good game and sometimes you don’t get rewarded based on the shooting.”

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko said the shootout sometimes feels like a lottery. There’s a certain randomness to it; Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, now the NHL’s No. 2 scorer, charges less than a third of his penalty kick attempts.

“It’s harder than people think: goalkeepers preparing for shooters, shooters preparing for goalkeepers,” Tarasenko said. “I think it should be either you play until you score, or you play five (minutes) and a penalty shootout.”

Coach Bruce Cassidy is fine with shootouts because his Vegas Golden Knights have an All-Star goalie who happens to be good at them. Still, Cassidy said he thinks there could be some benefits to a longer 3-on-3 overtime, like involving more players. And he would eliminate the strange feeling in the ultimate team sport of losing in a 1v1 competition like the shootout.

“When you lose a shootout where you might have had a lot of good things, you feel like you’ve lost,” Cassidy said. “Any time you win in the National Hockey League — shootout, overtime, regulation — you feel pretty good. It is the defeat in the shooting: the pain of that is greater than the joy of victory.

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