It’s the counterargument to those who want to see 3-on-3 added after the initial 4-on-4 overtime: 3-on-3 is as much of a gimmick as the shootout.
More accurately, it’s the counterargument from people who apparently huff paint.
Considering 3-on-3 hockey equal with the shootout in terms of “here’s an actual hockey way to solve a hockey game” can only be the opinion of someone totally guessing.
I don’t have to tell you what hockey is – it’s defending, and positional play, and anticipation, and scoring, which you accomplish by generating chances and defending opponents. It’s a lot of things. There are, if I may understate, several moving parts.
I’ve seen the argument that it’s as much of a gimmick as the shootout - or more of one, if you read Ryan Lambert’s column this morning – because 3-on-3 happens less than penalty shots in the NHL. Well, no kidding. Fights happen more than penalty shots, but you don’t settle games by using those because they have so little to do with the actual play of the game.
Teams are built to succeed in different ways, and by making them trot out their three best breakaway guys you’re taking that out of their hands. The Nashville Predators depend on solid team defense, and they rely heavily on Shea Weber to make scoring a living hell for opponents. Trot out our best three shooters? They’re 1-7 in shootouts. If they’re even 4-4, they’re in the playoff hunt.
The New Jersey Devils surpress shots better than any team in the league, which has them within a whisper of playoffs despite their offensive struggles. 0-8 in shootouts.
Do you believe that if the Devils or Predators were given the chance to play endless Real Hockey OT they’d be a combined 1-15? Of course you don’t. So we should at least allow them more time to try to gain points using the strengths they believe they have. It wouldn’t make sense for the NBA to settle games with a dunk contest when some teams choose to build around playmakers like Steve Nash.