The NHL’s shootout solution is right under its nose – SB Nation

We’re all sick of shootouts and the AHL has the answer we’re looking for.

If there’s one thing that’s been a bit surprising about the start of the 2014-15 NHL season, it’s the proliferation of shootouts deciding games. Thankfully for everyone, the American Hockey League has the solution we’ve been waiting for.

This season, the AHL changed its overtime rules. Rather than playing 4-on-4 for five minutes and then going to a shootout if no one scored, the league plays a seven-minute overtime. The first three minutes are played 4-on-4 and the final four minutes are played 3-on-3. If no one scores after that, then it goes to the shootout.

During the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 win against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, NBC put up a graphic showing how the AHL’s overtime changes have worked to help reduce the number of games that end in the skills competition.

AHL NHL Shootout

Just over half of the NHL games that have made it to overtime have gone all the way to the shootout, which fans love to hate or hate to love. The one thing that’s clear is NHL general managers hate missing out on the playoffs because they didn’t have a guy who could deke out a goalie during a game in mid-November.

The AHL numbers look almost like an oasis in an icy tundra filled with bland shots. The league hasn’t played as many games, and yes, we know it’s a small sample size, but seeing that only four out of 22 overtime games went to the shootout brings a tear to your eye. Seeing 12 of 22 games were won in 3-on-3 mode makes us jealous we can’t see this happen in the NHL.

Just look at how exciting 3-on-3 hockey can be at the NHL level. …read more

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