New OT Format a Mystery for Jackets
Everyone is getting a taste of the new 3-on-3 overtime format in the NHL. Everyone, that is, except the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The NHL changed how its regular season games ended when ties seemed like no fun. The adage was that there should be a winner and a loser. So the shootout was officially introduced in the 2005-2006 season if the five-minute overtime did not produce a winner. The five-minute overtime period was introduced to the NHL in 1983.
The National Hockey League adapts and changes, trying to find the right balance of extra time in determining a winner while also realizing that late nights are an issue during the regular season because of travel. Ultimately, the league decided that the overtime period was not serving its purpose as only 44.4 percent of games last season that were tied after 60 minutes ended during the overtime period.
Through the first month of the 2015-2016 season, that number jumped to over 70 percent. That is exactly what the NHL envisioned when it enacted its new "3-on-3" overtime rule as opposed to the previous "4-on-4."
This might have been of some concern to the Blue Jackets, who are 14-4 in shootouts since joining the Eastern Conference - a much higher winning percentage than they have in regulation or overtime games. This means the likelihood of the games getting to the shootout, where they dominate, will be much less.
The problem, though, is not that the games are ending before the shootout portion of the night. The Jackets are not even getting to overtime. At all. They are the only team yet to play an overtime game this season. Statistically speaking, that is absurd. Over 23 percent of their games last season went beyond regulation.
If you are a die-hard CBJ fan, you have yet to see the new 3-on-3 OT action unless you are watching nationally-televised games on NBCSN or have the Center Ice package.
Why do the Blue Jackets hate fun? Why are they starving you of this new, apparently awesome overtime format?
I cannot answer that. Actually, they were just really bad to start the season so typically some "close" losses that may have occurred never had a chance of going beyond regulation.
Todd Richards mentioned they briefly practiced some 3-on-3 before the season and the team got cracks at it in a couple preseason games. Lines have changed with John Tortorella taking over, and now we have no idea what some of the overtime lines might look like. We can guess, though.
First OT Line Guess : Saad - Johansen - Murray
This would be an awesome first line to watch because of Saad's speed and finishing ability, Johansen's slick passing, and Murray's all-around ability. Could this be the first unit of three we see?
Second OT Line Guess: Atkinson - Karlsson (Dubinsky) - Johnson
Brandon Dubinsky is on IR right now but it would be fun to watch him on the ice with longtime linemate, Cam Atkinson. Cam's speed in the open ice would be more noticeable and he has the ability to finish on breakaways. Jack Johnson might give us an elevated heart rate with his risk/reward play jumping into the offensive zone.
Third OT Line Guess: Jenner - Foligno - Goloubef
The forward duo has enough skill, but their forte may be cleaning up some rebounds. Goloubef is a nice pick on the back end as he plays more of a quiet game, allowing the forwards to take some chances.
We really have no insight into how Tortorella is going to approach the 3-on-3 overtime. There is a lot to consider as skill will be a premium and skating ability will be key as well.
Take a guess in the comments at a few of the overtime units we might see, should the Blue Jackets finally consider your entertainment wishes and push a few games past regulation. Once Columbus sees overtime, we can revisit and find out which of you is the best at prognosticating.