Then there were three?
GMs recommend three- on- three play for OT to replace current four- on- four format in NHL.
LAS VEGAS — The NHL is tweaking the game and reshaping its teams.
League general managers meeting here recommended a f ive- minute, three- on- three overtime and proposed a coach’s challenge in limited situations: goalie- interference calls and missed offside calls that lead to goals scored.
Movement toward possible expansion is expected to take center stage Wednesday as Commissioner Gary Bettman will update the owners at the Board of Governors meeting about the progress of a Las Vegas group, led by businessman and prospective owner Bill Foley. The board will also consider Tuesday’s recommendations from the GMs. The league’s awards are set for Wednesday night.
Additionally, team executives received the news that next season’s salary cap will be $ 71.4 million. Ducks General Manager Bob Murray and Kings Senior Vice President Jeff Solomon both said that number was on the high end of their projections.
This doesn’t mean Murray plans to make another offer to forward Matt Beleskey, who is due to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. After Tuesday’s meetings here, Murray said Beleskey rejected the Ducks’ last offer “immediately.”
“I’m very comfortable with the offer we made. We made a really good offer, and it’s just a part of hockey now,” Murray said. “We learned this the hard way a few years ago, about overspending and getting yourself in trouble.”
The Ducks’ last offer to Beleskey was believed to have been a four- year deal worth $ 16 million. Beleskey, who had 22 goals and 32 points in the regular season, was outstanding in the playoffs with eight goals and Murray took note of that.
“We’ve turned him into a pretty good hockey player,” Murray said. “But I could have traded him the day before the deadline — I had a deal — and I just said ‘ No, that was wrong for my hockey team.’ ”
The GMs, meanwhile, acknowledged the popularity of shootouts, but they are trying to get the number down. Four on four for f ive minutes, the current format in overtime, isn’t cutting it.
“I’m not against anything that gets fewer shootouts,” Murray said. “Fewer shootouts, the better. Three on three is fun. Three on three is a great thing.”
Said Detroit’s Ken Holland: “I believe three on three is going to be as entertaining as the shootout, maybe more entertaining, because it’s going to be a team concept. There’s going to be breakdowns, two on ones, breakaways involved in three on three.”
Philadelphia’s Ron Hextall, a former goalie, was able to examine the format, viewing it at the American Hockey League level. “It’s free f lowing,” he said. “It’s chance for chance. It’s tough on a goalie, but it’s exciting.”