The Stanley Cup has been awarded and casual fans have moved on to baseball and the dreams of coming football while more loyal hockey fans look forward to the draft as the last island of hockey excitement in the ocean of summer sports.
And just when you thought there was nothing left to look forward to but the draft, the NHL has a few announcements to shake up your week.
New Overtime Rules:
There were a shit ton of overtime games in the 2014-15 season, leading to a lot of fans remembering how much they hate the shootout that comes after a 5 minute overtime. The shootout isn’t exactly a fan favorite way to lose a game and some have started suggesting that the NHL adopt a new way of dealing with the OT.
The AHL has been experimenting with their own overtime rules that seem more fitting than a single OT followed by a shootout. In the AHL The overtime period is 7 minutes long. For the first 4 minutes of OT it’s 4-on-4 play, after that it switches to 3-on-3 for three minutes. If the game is still tied at the end of the 7 minutes, it goes into a shootout. Apparently some general managers wanted to adopt the AHL’s overtime policy, but the NHLPA was against it.
NHLPA was adamantly opposed to AHL-tested model (4 mins of 4 on 4 and 3 mins of 3 on 3) so NHL choice was no change at all or 3 on 3 for 5.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 24, 2015
Finally there has been a change officially offered for approval by the NHL BOard of Governors. Despite the recent success of the AHL overtime eliminating the number of games that end in a shootout, the NHL has come up with their own OT plan. The new overtime presented would change the current setup from a 4-on-4 to a 3-on-3 overtime for 5 minutes. The shooutout is still on if the game is tied after 5 minutes, but it’s an attempt to get rid of the increasingly annoying skills competetion.
The strategies that coaches use for the 3-on-3 will add a bit of interest, as well as seeing star players get that much more ice to pull off some fancy moves in pen space.
Since the NHL switched around the conferences and alignments, there has been talk of adding on one or more teams. The idea of an NHL expansion has garnered major interest from three cities, Las Vegas, Quebec, and Seattle.
Las Vegas has made the most noise about getting their own NHL team. They’ve started petetions and Facebook sites devoted to gaining and showing that there is a strong Vegas fanbase, The potential franchise owners have sold over 11,000 season ticket commitments to fans and have even started construction on an NHL stadium.
The expansion, so far, had just been speculation and pleas from fans. But on Wednesday, Comissioner Gary Betteman announced that the NHL would open an open-ended expansion process for potential bidders. Las Vegas seems to be the front runner, but the number of teams that will be added to the league isn’t set just yet.
It’s possible that two franchises will be added to keep the league even. Other cities that may put in bids for an NHL team are first and most obviously, Quebec city, who are desperate for the return of the Nordiques, Seattle, Kansas City and Portland. The application period for new teams is July 6th until August 10th.
Any teams that might be added won’t be able to start playing until the 2017-2018 season and there’s still no guarantee that the expansion is even happening.