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AHL rule changes include 3-on-3 overtime, and that's awesome

The American League Board of Governors approved some rule changes for 2014-15. Chief among them: the introduction of 3-on-3 overtime. That's something to get very excited about.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The American League just got a whole lot more interesting.

At the end of the NHL farm circuit's Board of Governors meetings Thursday, the league announced a slew of rule changes for the 2014-15 season. It's more than fair to think of these changes as experiments for future NHL implementation, as there's a precedent for rules starting in the AHL and moving to the NHL. That's fantastic news considering what the changes are.

The most prominent: the introduction of 3-on-3 overtime. The league states:

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.

So not only is overtime longer at seven minutes, up to four minutes of the extra frame can be played 3-on-3. It should look something like this:

The new overtime format looks exciting as heck, and it should reduce the number of shootouts. That's a great thing if you ask me or the New Jersey Devils.

The AHL adds several more rule changes for 2014-15:

  1. Teams will switch sides before overtime and the ice will receive a "dry scrape."
  2. Any player who fights twice in a game or incurs three major penalties of any kind will receive an automatic ejection.
  3. Players who lose their helmets have to leave the ice immediately or put their bonnets back on with the chinstrap fastened, lest they receive a two-minute minor.

And those rule changes are intriguing, but let's be honest. The one that matters, at least to our inner children, is the 3-on-3 overtime. It's just plain fun, and it should give the AHL a well-deserved uptick in attention when the season begins.

UPDATE: I asked an AHL representative how power plays will be handled in a 3-on-3 format. The team with the man advantage will gain a player, creating a 4-on-3 or a 5-on-3.

Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the Post-To-Post blogFor more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazineFollow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin



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