(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
Nine games have been played so far this season and two went into overtime, including last night’s shootout loss, 3-2, in Philadelphia.
So with this small sample in mind, what does Alain Vigneault think of the new 3-on-3 overtime?
“Crazy,” he said bluntly.
More importantly since the 3-on-3 is here to stay- at least for this season- then what can the Rangers do to use it as an advantage.
“So far we have been in two in the regular season,” the coach said. “I prefer ending the game that way as opposed to a strict shootout. But it’s crazy. If you have a breakout going one way and the other team misses the net then you have a breakout going the other way.
“Can’t tell you if I like it or dislike it. I just know we have to deal with it.”
With the Rangers built around speedy players and a world class goaltender, you would think the 3-on-3 would play nicely for this team the team. But in the two overtimes, we have seen a loss to the Devils and then one that held on-serve that went to a shootout.
Vigneault said his team does work on it, but there’s no consensus on what to do. Last season, the American League used it and the Hartford coaching staff came up with various opinions, but there’s no straight strategy.
“If you have a guy who gets beat, you’re in trouble and if you stay on the ice too long you’re in trouble,” Vigneault said. “We should get a better understanding the more we play it.”
The good news here is that this is new to the whole league. If the Rangers are having trouble understanding it, then the rest of the league is probably following suit.
More importantly, the Rangers are trying different things to come up with a system.
“Right now, I see two forwards and a D and if you have a faceoff in the offensive zone, you might set up with three forwards. But I’m not experienced enough yet to tell you that might work,” he said. “In different games, different guys are seeing it. You may have to go with the hot hand.”
Crazy and a work in progress, hopefully like the shootout a decade ago, the Rangers can come up with a system to make the 3-on-3 their own.
They can’t afford to leave points on the table.