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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        • 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.