While the new 3-on-3 overtime format has largely been well received this season, there’s one very vocal opponent of the new way games are decided: Dustin Byfuglien.
The Winnipeg Jets defender had some choice words about the altered overtime rules after his team fell 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning this past Friday night.
“It’s terrible. It’s a terrible part of hockey. It’s not hockey,” he said following the game. “It ain’t hockey. It’s ‘Just let the kids play.’ It’s stupid.
“Just keep it four-on-four, five-on-five. Let’s just play hockey.”
The new format was implemented to help reduce the number of games that rely on a shootout to decide the outcome—and it’s working. So far this season, only 35 percent of games that go to extra time have been decided by a shootout. This time last year, over 58 percent of overtime games went to a shootout.
Prior to implementing 3-on-3 overtime, NHL general managers had proposed doing an initial four-minute overtime period of 4-on-4 followed by a three-minute period of 3-on-3. However, the NHL didn’t want to add extra time onto games, so they opted to go straight to a 3-on-3 period in overtime.
Following Winnipeg’s loss on Friday, Byfuglien’s teammate Bryan Little said that 3-on-3 was a terrible way to lose, “but the shootout is a worse way to lose.”