The NHL is currently testing several potential new rules at its second annual Research, Development and Orientation Camp. On Tuesday, the league explored different tie-breaking options, including playing three minutes of playing 3-on-3 hockey after a four-minute period of 4-on-4 to avoid a shootout. The proposal, sure to excite nostalgic Wayne Gretzky 3D Hockey fans, was met with with mixed reactions.
"I prefer 4-on-4," Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman said. "I'd like to keep 4-on-4. If we're going to extend it, keep it at 4-on-4. Three-on-three is not enough players on the ice, in my opinion."
Dave Armstrong, GM of the St. Louis Blues, was more optimistic.
"I think it's certainly interesting to get to the 3-on-3," Armstrong said. "I think if we want less games ending in the shootout, it's certainly an avenue we should explore, going right to the 3-on-3 and eliminate the 4-on-4. When I come to these events, I say what's the goal you're trying to achieve and work your way back. If our goal is to achieve less shootouts, the 3-on-3 makes a lot of sense."
The NHL also tested changes to the current shootout system, such as increasing the number of skaters involved from three to five, and allowing shooters to go again once the five-man rotation has been completed. Currently, players can't shoot again until the entire active roster has been exhausted. The proposed shootout changes received much more dissent from team officials. Here's Rick Dudley, Director of Player Personnel for the Toronto Maple Leafs:
"I can remember, I'm in the International Hockey League coaching and we won it when a defenseman, Ian Herbers, who happened to score on about the 20th shooter and we discovered he was really good in shootouts," Dudley said. "We actually moved him up the list, but we had never really thought about him because he wasn't a high-scoring defenseman, he just happened to have great poise and he was a great guy that had reach and he scored about the 20th shooter into the thing. That, to me, I just like to see ... I'd love to see when you get down to the lower end of the roster. I think it's wonderful."
For more news out of the research camp, stay tuned to our storystream.