The dreaded shootout is still around in the NHL, however the American Hockey league took a big step in reducing the talent show competition today with their new overtime rules. The AHL announced several rule changes for the upcoming season with the biggest of them being the changes to overtime.
Previously, if an AHL game was tied at the end of 60 minutes of regulation time, the game went to a five-minute, 4-on-4 overtime with a shootout following the 5 minutes. For next season the overtime period will be extended to 5 minutes and for 3 minutes the teams will be forced to skate 3-on-3.
To be more specific, teams will skate 4-0n-4 to kick off the overtime for the first 4 minutes, as soon as the first whistle is blown in the following 3 minute window, teams will play 3-on-3. Yes, it’s pretty confusing and will certainly take some getting used to. If the game still remains tied after all that a three-player shootout will follow.
While the shootout will still follow the confusing seven minute overtime period, this is definitely a step closer to eliminating the shootout once and for all. Many have been call for changes to the NHL’s shootout policy, hoping for extended overtime or 3-on-3 times. Hopefully if the change goes well for the AHL, the NHL may follow suit and for once give the fans what they want.
The Second major rule change involves rule 20.4, Major Penalties.
“An automatic game misconduct will be applied to any player who has been assessed two major penalties for fighting or three major penalties for any infraction in the same game.”
This reforming of major penalty rule should cut down on the number of unnecessary fights in a game — two in one night and you’ll be automatically out for the rest of the game. Perhaps this is the AHL’s way of telling role players who are there just to fight, that they are no longer wanted in the league. This is the new part of the rule. Before, the rule covered the “three major penalties in the same game” portion, but not the fighting majors.
The AHL will also change their helmet policy regarding what a player should do if their helmet comes off during play. They either must exit the ice surface or properly put their helmet back on with the chin strap fastened or be assessed a minor penalty.
These are three of the big rules you can expect to see next season in the AHL. Do you like the rules? Will the NHL eventually follow suit?