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Deep Blue Sea: 3-on-3 comes to the Big Ten

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2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Championships - Semifinals ST PAUL, MN - APRIL 05: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate the 4-3 win over the Michigan Wolverines during the semifinals of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championships on Apri Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The NHL adopted 3-on-3 overtime back in 2015, to mixed reviews. The most notable benefit is that play outside of regulation doesn’t last very long in this format. The open ice gives more opportunity for scoring and a faster pace of play, making the whole affair pretty tidy in that five minute period. This also leads to fewer shootouts, which is great from a marketing perspective

But most of the players seem to view it as a gimmick, especially after the All Star game adopted the 3-on-3 format. Goaltenders across the board aren’t fans, but skaters have also spoken up. For example, Dustin Byfuglien told this to the Winnipeg Free Press:

“It’s terrible. It’s a terrible part of hockey. It’s not hockey,” Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien said this morning after his team lost 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning here Friday night.

”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.”

But for fans, it’s entertainment. It’s chaotic and quick and likely won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Especially since it has found footing in lower leagues and now, the NCAA, where the Big Ten will be adopting the 3-on-3 format during the season (tournament play will still have a 20 minute, 5-on-5 overtime sudden death period).

Gophers coach Bob Motzko, speaking on the Big Ten teleconference, was happy with the change.

“The biggest thing with three-on-three: They players love it and the fans really enjoy it,’’ said Motzko, who had experience with the format when he was St. Cloud State’s coach in the NCHC. “… I love the fact that it’s in our league and I really like the fact that we’ve got three leagues in the west all using it.’’

Maybe younger players have come around on it — or maybe we all just hate shootouts that much.

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