The AHL announced several rule changes today -- two of them mirror NHL changes -- overtime will now be preceded by a dry scrape and team will switch ends.
However, the AHL has gone an extra step (or two) in reducing the number of shootouts with two additional changes:
- Overtime will now be 7 minutes long, instead of 5 (40% increase in length of overtime).
- At the first whistle after three minutes are played, overtime will switch from 4-on-4 to 3-on-3.
These changes should all lead to more chances that produce more goals and reduce the number of shootouts. (Last season 275 of 1140 AHL games needed extra time, with 97 decided in overtime and 178 in shootouts. This compares to 129 OT goals and 178 shootouts in the 307 of 1230 NHL games that were tied after 60 minutes).
The AHL will also now mirror the NHL in that shootouts will be a 3-player, not a 5-player, process. AHL scribe Tim Leone tweeted @timleone "Shootout moving in a positive direction with AHL rule changes. Down to 3 shooters from 5. Next, let's go down to 0 shooters from 3."
Two other AHL changes -- players will now be given Game Misconducts after their 2nd Fighting Major (or 3rd Major in total) and players whose helmets are knocked off must replace it immediately or get off the ice (minor penalty if they do not).
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick
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