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Overtime modifications on table at GMs meeting

by Corey Masisak

TORONTO -- Ken Holland has long been one of the leading proponents of extending overtime to decide more games before going to a shootout, and the Detroit Red Wings general manager said Tuesday he thinks support for such an action is growing among his peers.

Overtime was one of the popular subjects at the GMs meeting in Toronto. Holland has proposed in the past to have five minutes of 4-on-4 overtime followed by five minutes of 3-on-3 before going to a shootout.

A number of proposals or amendments to the current overtime format were discussed Tuesday, and changes to OT will be discussed in further detail when the League's GMs meet for three days in March in Boca Raton, Fla.

Holland proposed extending overtime during a GMs meeting at the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, but it was tabled at that time. The idea has come up again in multiple meetings, and Holland felt after the discussion Tuesday the idea has more traction than ever before.

"We talked in there and we're going to talk again in March," Holland said. "There seems to be some interest in maybe expanding overtime another couple of minutes. Whether it remains 4-on-4 or goes from 4-on-4 to 3-on-3, certainly seems to gaining some traction and we're going to have a long conversation about it in March.

"[St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong] and I are both at different ends. We're going to go tonight over supper and we're going to further debate it. He's going to try to sway me and I'm going to sway him. Obviously I like the idea to expand overtime. I don't have a problem with the game being decided in a shootout, I want to see as many games decided in either a 4-on-4 or 3-on-3 format."

Beyond Holland's proposal, there was also discussion about extending 4-on-4 to 10 minutes, or somewhere in the middle to seven or eight minutes. Armstrong and Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman both said they were proponents of extending 4-on-4.

"I think 4-on-4 overtime is extremely exciting," Yzerman said. "Regardless of the teams playing, I always find it to be some of the most exciting moments of the game. I'd certainly support extension of 4-on-4."

Armstrong also said New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello suggested having teams switch ends again in the extra session, with the idea that long changes could produce more offensive chances.

One issue with extending overtime that was discussed is the quality of the ice at the end of the game. With the current format, there is a short break and the teams begin the overtime session. There was discussion about possibly resurfacing the ice before overtime begins to improve the ice quality.

"I like the idea of the games being decided prior to the shootout," Armstrong said. "If we have to extend 4-on-4 play, I would understand that. We talked about 4-on-4 and then 3-on-3. I'm not sure about 3-on-3 yet because I don't see it enough in regular 60 minutes or the overtime to see what effect that would have.

"I like the idea of extended 4-on-4 or maybe what Lou Lamoriello brought up with switching zones and making it a little bit harder for the change. That might accomplish things too. I think we can maybe tweak it a couple of different ways before we do a radical change like going to 3-on-3 or doing another step. Let's see if we can end these 4-on-4."


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