The introduction of 3-on-3 play in some format in regular-season overtime, and a limited video-replay challenge, will be the recommendations made by the League's general managers from their annual spring gathering, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday.
The challenge, which would be issued by a coach, would only be for scoring plays involving the potential presence of goaltender interference and to remove delay of game penalties issued for a player shooting the puck from the defensive zone directly out of play.
Any potential changes to the rules need to be reviewed and approved by the NHL-NHLPA Competition Committee, comprised of representatives from the League and the National Hockey League Players' Association, and the Board of Governors. The Competition Committee and the BOG each traditionally meet in June.
The earliest either rule change could take effect would be for the start of the 2015-16 season.
The managers want to see 3-on-3 overtime instituted in an attempt to decrease the number of overtime games which reach the shootout. They do not know whether the recommendation will be 3-on-3 play throughout the traditional five minutes of overtime or if it will go to the model currently used in the American Hockey League, which features 4-on-4 play for the first three minutes followed by 3-on-3 play after the first whistle past the three-minute mark.
Commissioner Bettman said the League will discuss both scenarios with the Competition Committee and decide which works best for all parties.
The replay challenge will be used to rule on goals that involve the question of goalie interference, Once challenged the play will be reviewed by on-ice officials, with the aid of a tablet or other device, to determine if the call of a goal should stand or be changed because of the presence of clear-cut interference with the goaltender. The on-ice officials will be able to discuss the play with the Hockey Operations Department in the NHL Situation Room in Toronto, but the call will remain a judgment call by the on-ice officials.
Puck-out-of-play reviews will be conducted by the Situation Room.
A team must possess its timeout in order to be able to make a challenge, according to the recommendation being made. A challenge which does not result in the reversal of the call on the ice will cost the challenging team its timeout and the ability to challenge for the remainder the game. Any overtime goal scored with the presence of potential goalie interference will be reviewed by the Situation Room without the requirement of a challenge.