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 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:
- Teams will switch sides before overtime and the ice will receive a “dry scrape.”
- Any player who fights twice in a game or incurs three major penalties of any kind will receive an automatic ejection.
- 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 thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin