Jun 16, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of Los Angeles Kings rally to celebrate winning the 2014 Stanley Cup at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Did The AHL Pave The Way For A New Overtime Format In The NHL?


The American Hockey League’s Board of Govenors annual meeting was conducted this week in Hilton Head Island S.C. and finished up earlier today.

At the conclusion of the week long meetings the approval of several rule changes was announced by the board. One of the rules affected major penalties while the second dictated that players would have to leave the ice or re-strap their helmets if lost during play. The final rule change was to the overtime format, which depending on how it plays out throughout next season, could be a catalyst to a reformatting of the NHL’s current overtime format.

From the official release from the AHL.

Rule 85 (“Overtime”)

    • During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be seven minutes (7:00) in length, preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.
      • Teams will change ends at the start of overtime.
        • Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which time full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period.
        • If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.

        Since the shootout was instated there have been plenty who have been apposed to it. The idea of a game being decided by a “skills competition” bugged many and had many contemplating ways to fix overtime and avoid the shootout. It looks as if the AHL may have taken the first step in reworking overtime in order to get a goal before the shootout is needed.

        More time for a goal is always a good thing, so the change from five to seven minutes is already a step in the right direction. The big change will be the jump to 3-on-3 hockey after three minutes of play. This is sure to pick up the pace of the game and put the outcome of the game in some of the star players’ hands.

        You can bet the NHL will be keeping an eye on how the new format plays out for the AHL. If it proves to be a good thing and the NHL likes the results you can bet there will be something very similar instated in the big league in the near future.

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        Tags: Los Angeles Kings

        • BT Farley

          I don’t get the change in strength. Why not start at 3 on 3 and go the entire 7 mins. Why not go 10 minutes. The more time the more chance a team ends it in the overtime period. Stopping play will disrupt the flow of the game and what if a player is on a breakaway or intercepts a pass and will be on an odd man rush just as the whistle blows to change sides. That’s just unprofessional IMO.
          I also think the Parody in the NHL has gotten a bit too close so why not give the teams both a point after the OT is over, Not regulation.

          • Art

            I think you should read the article again, you seem to have misunderstood.

            • BT Farley

              I get it. To stop at 3 mins would inturupt the flow of the Overtime period. What I think the NHL should do is change sides at the end of regulation. As it stands now both teams remain at their 3rd period benches for a short break before OT starts. If they change sides and have a long change like in the second period where most goals are scored, more of the games would end in the overtime. They should also make the OT period 10 minutes rather than 5. The shootout is fine but teams also should both get a point after the OT not regulation. The current format creates a little too much parody in the NHL. There’s enough as it is. There hasn’t been a single team win the cup twice in a row since Detroit 15 years ago. The Long change is the important part. It’s proven most goals are scored in the second period where teams get pinned in their end and the attacking team can pull a couple fresh players off the bench right near the offensive zone. The defense is exhausted and the coverage peals apart leading to goals.

              • Art

                But Sir it says “the first whistle after three minutes of play”. If the whistle blows anyway, they just shed a player and move on. They’re not going to stop a breakaway or a set play to remove players. You obviously know your hockey, I just think you may have missed that part. The rest of your requests seem like they make perfect sense.

                • BT Farley

                  I get what you’re saying. It’s just that Overtime is already making the game longer so it has to be exciting to keep butts in seats. Many OT periods go the full five minutes without a stoppages. How can you count on a stoppage anywhere near the three min mark? Chances are with only four on ice as is, their won’t be a stoppage with all the room there is on the ice. I personally don’t like the loss of man power at all (4 on 4/3 on 3).

                  In studies done by the NHL historically the most goals are scored in the 2nd period. Do you know why this is? I’ll let you guess, the answer is below. No sarcasm!

                  In the first and third periods the benches are closer to the defensive zone. If a stick breaks or a players needs to get off while his team is pinned in. His bench is right their beyond the blue line. In the second period the bench is on the other side of the ice. The attacking team can change players at will since their bench is right beyond the nearest blue line of the defending team. Making line changes trickier and shifts longer. For some reason at the end of the third period teams stay at the same bench until the OT period starts. They should change benches and make the OT a period of long change like the second period. I think 3 on 3 will look too muck like an amateur league or players.

                  The best way(s) to end the game before the SO is (1)-Long change (2)-5 on 5 (3)- 10 minute periods. Teams get a point each after the OT period. Not at the end of regulation! That will help to shorten the amount of shootouts. If they wanted to get cute maybe they go to 4 on 4 after about 5 minutes. If a team has the puck on the attack then play continues until the defensive team controls the puck if it’s after the 5 min mark.

                  In my opinion there’s enough parody in the NHL as is. Too many teams stay in the hunt for the playoffs far too long because they just have to hold a tie to the end of regulation to get a point. That should change and 5 on 5 should remain with Long Changes for the entire overtime period. I don’t see how 3 on 3 will change anything nor will it help anything.

                  I applaud you for thinking outside the box but a teams structure is molded around 5 on 5 and at times 4 on 4. Like a teams forecheck or defensive zone coverages are taught at 4 on 4 at the least and mostely 5 on 5. There will be times when a whistle won’t blow at all or the refs will have to stop play that could have resulted in a scoring chance.