The NHL changed the format of this yearâ€™s All-star game in Nashville, Tennessee from regular 5-on-5 game to a 3-on-3 tournament. Four teams, one from each division, will face off and play to win the prize of $1 million.
The All-Star game has long been in need of a face lift, with viewership declining each year. Typically, the speed of the All-Star game is a fraction of a regular NHL game, but the final score is exponentially higher than a regular season game. Switching to 3-on-3 is a part of the NHLâ€™s hopes to bring competition back into the All-Star game, and by offering a large sum of money as the prize, players are sure to chase the carrot.
The NHL season started with a change to 3-on-3 overtime format, which has captivated the leagueâ€™s audience so far. The stress filled minutes of open ice and long passes gives the viewer something new and exciting to watch when teams are forces into sudden death overtime. The National Hockey League is looking to bring that same excitement back into the NHL All-Star game this season. The game will be formatted in to a tournament setting with one team from each division: The Pacific, Central, Metropolitan and Atlantic. The best 11 NHL players from each division will make up the teams consisting of six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies. The teams will also consist of at least one player from each NHL team, with some teams having more than one player present. The four division-leading NHL coaches, based on point percentage following the completion of games on Jan. 9, 2016, will be named head coaches of the 2016 All-Star game.
The tournament will consist of three 20 minute games in a 3-on3 format with the winning team taking home a $1 million prize pool, which will be split within the entirety of the team. During a game, the teams will switch ends of the ice after 10 minutes of play, and the winner of each game will move onto the final round. The Tournament will still be broken up into Western and Eastern Conference first, and then the third and final match will be conference vs. conference.
The 3-on-3 format is sure to be exiting for the players, but the 8 goalies selected for the game are sure to have a rough evening. Traditionally the scores of NHL All-Star games are quite high because of a lack of back checking from the defensemen, and with the transition to 3-on-3, the potential for a strong back check is even less prevalent than before. What will make the game exciting is the fact that players are playing for a large payout. Previously the All-Star game was played for bragging rights, so players would meander down the ice, weave through seemingly lethargic defensemen, and then snipe shots past unsuspecting goalies. But this season will be different because there is money on the line. The score might be much higher than in previous years because of the nature of a 3-on-3 format, but the competition to score the numerous goals will also be better.
The All-Star game festivities start in Music City with the 2016 Honda All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday, January 30. The Skills Competition gives the best 44 players in the National Hockey League a chance to show off their skills in various games competitions such as fastest skater and fastest slap-shot. The newly formatted 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game will be held the following evening, Sunday, January 31 in Bridgestone Arena.