NHL Misses the Boat With 3-On-3 All Star Tournament


Making the NHL All-Star game interesting, entertaining and worthwhile for both players and fans has been one of the NHL’s toughest tasks. Going with the new theme of 3-0n-3 overtime, the NHL has decided to adopt the All-Star game into a type of 3-0n-3 tournament. While a 3-on-3 tournament isn’t a horrible idea in itself, the NHL missed the boat on the format.

Under its current format there are four teams representing each division made up of 11 players each. Fans will still have an opportunity to vote their favourite players in and all teams must have at least one representative playing in the tournament.

The idea of 3-on-3 hockey for the All-Star affair is a brilliant idea that should have been brought up sooner. The games are long, boring and uneventful. However, with just 6 players on the ice battling it out, there will be more open ice for exciting plays and it will be a lot tougher for players to actually coast during the games. Now the stamina of players will certainly come into question but that can always be adjusted with shorter games.

This new format should lead to a more exciting All-Star game simply because of the fact it will not resemble an actual hockey game that is played without its key parts, but instead a fun competition with skill on full display.

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Since the skill competition has always been the crown jewel of the weekend, including this element of excitement to the game will help to elude the boring full game. The NHL All-Star game is never going to be a real game for the players, so its high time the NHL stopped treating it as such. Watching lazy defense and opposition congratulating each other for scoring gets old year after year. With the new change the NHL is finally bringing a new element and not treating the marketing driven All-Star game as a real game and that’s a refreshing perspective.

Yes, I love the new 3-0n-3 format the NHL is adopting, so you’re probably asking why I don’t like the format if I love the idea?

The requirement of having one player from every team often times cheapens the skill you see on the rosters and limits teams from sending numerous players who are worthy of All-Star appearances. Sure there are teams like the Chicago Blackhawks who always end up with what seems like half their team present for the festivities, but ultimately there’s some players who miss out. Which is why I think the NHL should adopt a full 3-on-3 tournament where all 30 teams are equally represented.

Have each team send a team of their top 4 players who can compete in the tournament, so that each teams All-Stars are represented equally. While it’s always exciting to see Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin playing on the same line making magic happen, it might be better to have teammates actually playing together. Teammates have already formed chemistry together and could use that for some truly special plays. Imagine seeing a team with Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Artemi Panarin on a team together? That’s be some serious skill!

Also that would help get rid of the whole East vs. West system the league is stuck with and give the two best teams that opportunity to play against each other. Imagine a final between the Blackhawks and Kings top 3 players or the Canadiens and the Lightning’s best battling it out.

Obviously you wouldn’t want the teams to play a 20 minute game and maybe they only play blue-line in to make it more competitive and have two games playing at once. The logistics would have to be worked out, but having NHL All-Star festivities that represent the 30 teams equally in this type of tournament would be best.

Just think of the fun and excitement this would draw into the NHL All-Star game. Every teams top 3 players battling it out to see who comes out on top.