“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.
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.
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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.
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