Chicago Blackhawks: 3 Vs 3 Overtime Impact

By Chris Schubert

The National Hockey League is moving forward with the idea to revamp the overtime system, with the hope of limiting the amount of games that get to the dreaded shootout. Their plan is to move to a five minute, 3-on-3 overtime setup with the shootout following that if the game remains tied.

3-on-3 overtime presents quite the interesting concept for the league, especially for the Chicago Blackhawks. While 3-on-3 is a potential scenario during regulation, if enough penalties are taken, it is very rare to see that brand of hockey being played. With this new setup, 3-on-3 hockey will be seen much more often, and that should favor the Chicago Blackhawks.

Instant reactions to this decision point out that 3-on-3 will create more scoring chances, and create more space on the ice for the skill players to make moves and score highlight reel goals. Can you think of any of the Hawks’ that fit that description?

Besides the obvious answer of Patrick Kane, the Hawks’ have a ton of skilled forwards that will get to show off these skills in this environment. Brandon Saad, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews and the youngster Teuvo Teravainen are just a few of the Hawks’ forwards that would benefit from this overtime setup.

The shootout has been a constant complaint among hockey purists since it’s inception. Last season, 13.8 percent of all NHL games ended in a shootout. That’s a number far to high for a league that uses points to determine who gets in the playoffs. The extra point that can be achieved in the shootout could be the difference between making and missing the playoffs, which makes the complaints warranted.

Despite the change, this is probably not what the purists had in mind. Many clamor for the tie to be brought back (myself included), and there were even talks of a hybrid overtime system where it would start 4-on-4, then would be 3-on-3 for the final three minutes before going to a shootout.  None of these solutions are ideal, but something needed to be done.

The proposal, that appears to be all but a formality to be implemented, will create some tense situations with some skill and flair that could end up being the top plays on SportsCenter the next morning. The team that resides in the Windy City, especially the man called ‘Showtime”, are going to be at a huge advantage in this system. With fast, puck move defensemen to go along with their skillful, speedy forwards they will be able to create a large number of chances in this open environment.

At the other end of the ice, the Hawks’ have a pretty good, top of the NHL goaltender that is going to be able to shut down opportunities for opposing teams. It isn’t going to be the drama filled, high octane feel that playoff hockey has, but there will be some excitement surrounding this new overtime system. And the Hawks’ will be must-see TV when that period starts.