The players who took part in the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Nashville on Sunday hope the 3-on-3 format heads west when the game is played in Los Angeles in 2017.
"Yeah, I would (keep the format), especially with a little bit on the line to play for," Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby said, referring to the $1 million prize for the winning team. "The biggest thing is there's no physical element like the normal 3-on-3 in the regular season, so guys aren't hesitant in any way. You can skate, you can shoot, and that's pretty normal for guys. It ramps up the intensity. In the future, it can get even better."
New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said the new format, which replaced a regular 60-minute game with three 20-minute games with three skaters and a goalie on the ice for each team, was strenuous but did help keep the intensity up.
"Everybody was sweating pretty good," McDonagh said. "Everybody was focusing on making good plays, trying to create some offense and some goals."
There was plenty of offense in the first two games, when 22 total goals were scored, but there was some defense and stellar goaltending, especially in the championship game, when the Pacific Division defeated the Atlantic 1-0.
"I think a lot of the players liked it," Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said. "It was pretty wide open and maybe more scoring chances than during 5-on-5. The last five minutes, the intensity got quite a bit higher too, so it was good."
Backstrom's Washington teammate, Evgeny Kuznetsov, liked the new format so much, he didn't want it to end.
"I wish we could have played just a little bit more. It was a lot of fun," he said.
Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux said he would like to see the format continue as well, not just for the players, but also for hockey fans.
"I like it. … I think it was fun," Giroux said. "The fans are going to really enjoy it in the future too."