As expected, the NHL’s Board of Governors officially approved the GMs’ recommendation to move to a 3-on-3 format for overtime. This is going to mean a lot more winners, and more importantly, a lot fewer shootouts.
The league had been closely watching the AHL’s OT experiment, which saw three minutes of 4-on-4 and four minutes of 3-on-3. But the NHL’s version will do away with altogether the 4-on-4 format which has been in use since 1999: it’ll just be five minutes of 3-on-3.
This still isn’t ideal—Greg Wyshynski doesn’t like it, and it might be even further from “real” hockey than 4-on-4 was. But as a middle ground, it’s not bad. There’s no momentum to do away with the shootouts, and the NHLPA wasn’t about to give ground on extending overtime longer than five minutes. This is a compromise that satisfies both sides, and will lead to fewer unsatisfying endings to three-point games. We’ll take it for now.
Another new rule for 2015-16 will be a limited form of coach’s challenges. Starting this season, if a team still has its timeout left, it can call for a video review on any goals that may potentially be overturned by offside or goalie interference calls.
The NHL also announced a formal opening of the expansion process. Beginning in July, interested parties can submit their applications. And it’s not going to come cheap:
According to deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the earliest a new team would start play would be the 2017-18 season. Las Vegas is almost a gimme to land a team, and Seattle and Quebec City are also favorites. While Gary Bettman made clear that this process will not necessarily definitely result in expansion, all observers expect the NHL to add two teams.