It is arguably one of the most exciting times of year in the NHL, with just a dozen games left in the regular season, and a tight playoff race in both conferences.
However, some of the biggest news league-wide in recent days has come out of Boca Raton, Florida, where no NHL team resides. There, all 30 NHL General Managers are together for their annual meetings, where many of the league’s advancements begin as talking points.
This year is no different, with Coach’s Challenges and 3-on-3 overtime being the main highlights over the past three days.
If you’re a Chicago Blackhawks fan, hearing the latter should get you very, very excited.
It is no secret that the shootout is well over-used as a method to decide games since it’s implementation nearly a decade ago, as the 4-on-4 overtime that precedes it is more often than not, fruitless at producing a winner. In an effort to decide more outcomes without the shootout, decreasing the number of skaters per-team to 3 is something that has been brought forward.In the NHL’s farm league, the American Hockey League, it has seen tons of success in it’s first year.
Anyone who has watched a Chicago Blackhawks game over the past several years will immediately notice their speed, skill, and offense; they have all been at the pinnacle of the league for some time now.
The Blackhawks certainly have a pedigree in over-times, too: from Bryan Bickell against the Phoenix Coyotes, to Patrick Kane again and again, the Blackhawks seem to get it done when regulation runs out.
Skip to the shootout, however, and it’s a slightly different story. Though this season has been a positive change for the Blackhawks, historically they have only been mediocre.
Any development that gives the Blackhawks’ more time in the shootout is welcome, and if the League scraps four-on-four for the three-on-three alternative altogether, it would be like a dream come true for the team. For players like Kane, who can go through five guys with ease, let alone three, and Marian Hossa‘s puck-sharing ability, the Blackhawks would arguably be the most dangerous team in the league with all of that open ice.
The thought of an all-offense trio such as Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Brandon Saad, or a more balanced attack with the likes of Brent Seabrook or Duncan Keith on the blue-line should certainly get Blackhawks’ fans excited. The speed of the Blackhawks’ forwards is second-to-none, and if the NHL is looking for more offense, they will certainly find it in Chicago.
Looking at the big picture, 3-on-3 overtime could mean the difference between 2nd and 1st in the Central Division next season, and as all NHL fans know, if the Blackhawks earn a high seed in the playoffs, they will be even tougher to stop.
With that being said, if it comes down to a vote this weekend in Florida, one can place a sure bet on which side Blackhawks’ GM Stan Bowman will be on.