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NHL All-Star Game to take 3-on-3, division-based format

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

The scoring chances, skill and intensity that have made 3-on-3 overtime a must-see part of the game this season will be on display in a revamped format for the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Jan. 31.

The NHL and NHL Players' Association announced Wednesday that the All-Star Game will be transformed into a 3-on-3 All-Star Tournament comprised of three 20-minute games played by divisional all-star teams competing for a winner-take-all $1 million prize.

The NHL has experienced a significant rise in the percentage of games that end in overtime instead of the shootout largely because of the implementation of the 3-on-3 format for the 2015-16 season.

Entering play Wednesday, 67.9 percent of the games that have extended beyond regulation have ended in overtime (38 of 56). It was 44.4 percent last season (136 of 306), when the NHL was still using the 4-on-4 format in overtime.

"The NHL All-Star Weekend festivities provide a unique opportunity for our fans, players, clubs and business partners to come together in one city to celebrate the game at its highest level," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. "We are introducing a creative new format this year in Nashville not only as a way to enhance the competitiveness of the event, but also as a vehicle to highlight and emphasize the incredible skill, speed and athleticism it takes to play our game."

Each divisional all-star team will have 11 players: six forwards, three defencemen and two goalies.

Fans will select one player from each division, without regard for position, in the 2016 NHL All-Star Fan Vote. The players voted in by the fans will also be named captains of their respective team.

The remaining 40 all-stars will be named by the NHL Hockey Operations Department. There will be at least one representative from all 30 teams.

The four division-leading NHL coaches following games played Jan. 9 (best points percentage) will be automatically selected as the coach for their respective division team.

The first two 20-minute games will be the semifinal round, with the Central Division all-stars playing the Pacific Division, and the Metropolitan Division all-stars playing the Atlantic Division. The winners will play for the championship in the third game.

The schedule will be determined at the 2016 Honda All-Star Skills Competition, which will be contested between the Eastern and Western Conference all-stars on Jan. 30. The winning conference earns the right to select when their semifinal matchup will take place, first or second.

The teams will change ends at the 10-minute mark of each game. A shootout will determine the winner if the game is tied after 20 minutes.

The prize pool of $1 million will be paid in its entirety to the championship team.

"The players are excited for the refreshed All-Star Game format this year," NHLPA special assistant to the executive director Mathieu Schneider said. "We anticipate that the 3-on-3 All-Star Tournament in Nashville will be entertaining for fans to watch as the players display their exceptional talents."

Author: Dan Rosen | NHL.com Senior Writer

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