Sunday, October 31, 2010


I personally am a huge supporter of the BCHL's overtime format that sees 5 minutes played at 4 on 4, then an additional 5 minutes played 3 on 3 with any penalties in the 3 on 3 resulting in penalty shots.

When the NHL announced they were adopting shootouts to solve tie games following a 5 minute 4 on 4 overtime I was dissapointed. I prefer tie games to be decided in a manner that closely resembles actual game play.

I hoped the NHL would adopt the BCHL's overtime format and then go to a shootout as a last resort. The shootout can be exciting and dramatic. Just ask the Rangers and Flyers who decided who was going to the playoffs in the skills contest on the final day of the season last year.

This past summer during the a summer camp in Toronto, the NHL tried a number of tweaks to the game that may or may not be seen in NHL games in the future.

At that camp a similar overtime format to the BCHL's was looked at with four minutes of 4 on 4 and an additional four minutes of 3 on 3.

Now I read today that the NHL is taking a little closer look at that format.

Here's an article on the topic from Sunday's Vancouver Province.

Junior A league introduced revised format in 2000-01


The Canucks are finally getting around to working on their shootout skills, but it seems the league may be looking at de-emphasizing the breakaway competition to decide tied games.

Detroit GM Ken Holland is proposing changes to the NHL's current overtime rules where teams play four aside for five minutes before going to the shootout if no winner has been determined.

Holland's suggestion is to go to an eight-minute overtime, with the first four minutes at four-on-four and the second four minutes three-on-three.

A shootout would still be held if no goal is scored.

The idea, of course, is that if four-on-four doesn't produce a winner, then three-on-three certainly will.

Interestingly, the concept is a variation of the OT system used by the B.C. Hockey League since the 2000-01 season.

The BCHL instead uses a 10-minute overtime, with the first five minutes at four-on-four and the next five at three-a-side.

What happens if there is a penalty during the three-on-three?

It's a penalty shot.

The idea came from Dr. Duncan Wray, the longtime owner/governor of the Vernon Vipers. Apparently, he made the proposal two times before it was accepted by BCHL governors.

The BCHL does't do shootouts and the OT format certainly doesn't leave many tie games. Last season, the junior league played 510 games and only seven resulted in ties.

"I never really liked the shootout," said Wray. "We had it in the 1990s and I think it took us three years to win one. To me a shootout is like settling a baseball game with a home-run derby. Ken Holland asked me about it a couple of years ago, so that might be where this comes from."

Canucks forward Jeff Tambellini's played in the BCHL when the system was first introduced.

"There were not too many ties," he said. "The game opens up so much when you get to three-on-three. It's pretty exciting and sooner or later somebody is going to score. It's fun to watch."

Even though Tambellini is an excellent shootout player, he said he still prefers to win a game the traditional way.

"I like to win a game in overtime," he said. "It feels that much better."

Canucks captain Henrik Sedin is leery of the extra three minutes that would be added onto OT in an already long and demanding season.

"I would like a game to be decided playing hockey," he said. "But that's an extra three minutes. That's a long time [to add]. A three-on-three is almost like a shootout -- you'd have a guy going down and shooting and, if he misses, it's a two-on-one the other way. It's exciting but it's a lottery just the same."

Goaltender Roberto Luongo said he doesn't really care either way.

"Shootouts are fun, except when you lose," he said. "I think the fans enjoy it. Three-on-three, I don't know what it would look like, really. I know when we do that in practice for fun there's a lot of ice out there and a lot of scoring chances. It really doesn't matter to me."

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