Photo Credit: (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

It’s time the NHL expands its 3-on-3 overtime rules

“Get rid of the shootout (and) just play the three-on-three until a team dies.”

Those, my friends, are the wise words of Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella — and he’s right.

Since the NHL introduced 3-on-3 overtime starting in the 2015-2016 season, 396 games were unable to be decided in the extra frame sending the match to the shootout.

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As we all know, the shootout is as much of a game of chance as it is a game of skill.

The allure of it has faded with the introduction of the heart-pounding, breathtaking excitement that is the NHL 3-on-3 extra frame.

For a league that continues to preach bringing forth an exciting brand of hockey, why does the league still allow for immense excitement only to be followed (at times) by the monotonous shootout?

It’s time for the league to abolish the shootout and let games be decided in 3-on-3; a fight to the death, in Tortorella’s words.

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The league has seen an overwhelming number of games enter that overtime period since they introduced its new form — 735 games to be exact. The number of shootout games has seen a significant drop since 3-on-3 was introduced and it’s time for the league to expand on it.

It’s rather easy, if you ask me.

Just make the overtime frame longer. Instead of five minutes, make it 10. Make it 15. Make it an hour.

I think by doing so you bring forth a more exciting brand of hockey and you keep people interested in the games. How much do people enjoy it? So much so that someone built a bot on Twitter to post a tweet anytime a game goes to 3-on-3.

I know I had mobile notifications turned on so I knew when a game was going to the extra frame.

As I sit and write this article, in the background I have one of the best 3-on-3 overtime games ever played. It was during the World Cup of Hockey when Sweden squared off against Team North America.

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It was a heavyweight title fight that saw teams go blow, for blow, for blow on both ends of the rink. Nathan MacKinnon finished with the beautiful forehand-backhand move flipping it over Henrik Lundqvist.

That, my friends, is what I hoped to see more of in the future.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

  • Spydyr

    Cap it at 10-15-20 minutes pick one and if no one scores the game ends in a tie. Enough of some games being worth three points while other games are worth two points.

  • 50 Flex

    Actually nevermind. Removing the points system would encourage certain teams, like the Oilers, to play really boring hockey in the third to hopefully get it to 3 on 3 where they had a better chance of winning. Need to encourage teams to win in regulation. Make all games worth 3 points. 3 points if you win in regulation and split 2 and 1 if it goes to OT

    • nbandito

      This would definitely make teams fight to finish it in regulation, but the good teams would have an even larger spread from the poor teams who can trap and squeak out pity points in order to stay in the playoff race. Playoffs would be all but decided in early Feb most likely.

  • The Whispererer

    If you go with a 10 or 15 or 20 minutes, or until 1 team dies system, would you have to add another intermission after the 3rd period ?
    I believe one of the main reasons the current system was implemented was to facilitate team travel arrangements. Can you imagine a team playing an open-ended game with no ability to predict when it will end, then having to take a 3 or 4 hour flight to play in another city the next night ?
    That being said, i would have no problem with a game ending in a tie after 60 minutes.

  • Fireball

    I get a kick out of the whole 3 on 3. Don’t get me wrong it’s fun to watch. But to say it’s a good way to decide a game is a Joke. Might as well head up to the concourse or the parking lot and bust out the ball hockey to decide it. Just to think ?? they made it this way so the game would be decided quicker ! Making it easier to score. One mistake .. one shot miss the net and it’s in the back of the net 200 feet away.. What ever the league stats are I garentee the oilers do not go to shootout as much. That’s what you should compare., how many games went to shootout before and after. it’s more a team game ?? Oh yeah there’s only about half the Roster never ever got on the ice in 3 on 3. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if less than half the roster has ever got on the ice for 3 on 3 because McLeo plays 80% of it. There aren’t very many guys on the Oilers roster with very many mins at it. Maybe they should go 3 on 3 then 2 on 2 then it’ll really get decided quickly. Personally I liked the tie. I think rewarding teams for a OT loss is silly. No one was good enough to finish the game off so we will reward both ?? If there’s no tie I’m fine with the shootout. It’s pretty entertaining. Every time I’ve been that it reached a shootout I always say we’re getting our moneys worth tonight. Probably the biggest thing that has come from the shootout is that now when we send our guys to play international we actually know who’s good at the shootout and who ain’t. Does anyone remember how that used to work out for Canada ?? Cause the rest of the world was doing it long before us.

    • Fireball

      PS I’ve paid.. I’m there., I can’t get enough hockey .. the more I get to see the better. I really don’t care if the players don’t get paid overtime.. 😂

  • Serious Gord

    Of late I have been noticing that the 3v3 is more often ending in deadlock. That teams are playing a possession game and offence is less the focus.

    I’d like to see stats confirming or denying this is actually the case.

    I favour doubling it to tens minutes duration and then a shoot out.

    That increases both the minutes if 3v3 excitement and the shootout excitement by make them even rarer.

  • What the Puck

    I have never liked the fact that shootout goals are not counted as stats and not that they should be. How can a team win a game 1 to 0 but nobody is credited with a goal. Silly. At least with the overtime these stats count for players and for teams. The shootout truly is ridiculous.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    Yes please. 3-on-3 is so exciting (unless you’re the ducks playing keep away). The amount of odd man rushes, and thrilling action is hard to ignore. The best 3-on-3 OT I’ve seen was Team NA vs Team Sweden at the WCoH. The shootout needs to go, because it’s usually goalie dominant.

  • Danger Pay

    5 minutes of 3 on 3: followed by
    3 minutes of 2 on 2: followed by
    2 minutes of 1 on 1:
    Just use a better point system with 3 on 3 for 5 minutes, no shootout.
    3 points = Regulation win
    2 points= OT Win
    1 point= OT loss
    Tie = no points

  • Derzie

    Introduce a shot clock. 30 seconds. If you don’t get a goal, hit the goalie or the post in 30 seconds, you turn the puck over in the zone it was last touched.
    That will kill the shootout. If they want to keep the time in OT the same, then ties mean no one gets a point.

  • he shoots he scars

    NHL OT is just a gimmicky sugar high. It’s a bastardized aberration of the game that was played for 60 minutes. The players and team strategy play out differently than the first 60 min. No other sport reduces the number of players in OT at all, yet the NHL does, and then incredibly changes the game 5 minutes later to 1 on 1; imagine baseball 6 on 6 for the 10th inning, and then if the game is still tied they go to a home run derby or a race around the bases. America has a win or loose mentality, they want an absolute verdict, and that is why we have these ridiculous gimmicks. Often times a tie game after 60 is a true value of how that game was competed. Win, loss, tie, 2 points total, the way it should have stayed.

  • FutureGM

    3 on 3 is pond hockey. A far cry from the team game it normally is. 3 points for a win would eliminate a ‘safe’ 3rd period where both teams are playing for a tie rather than the win