Hot and not
Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers
Voracek entered the All-Star break on a roll, notching five points in the Flyers' three games leading up to All-Star weekend, and his two goals in an overtime win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday included the game-winner.
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
Quick stopped just 15 shots in a 4-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in the Kings' final game before the All-Star break, which he enters on a personal three-game losing streak.
Has 3-on-3 overtime been a success so far?
@CraigCustance: This weekend in Nashville, we're going to hear a lot about 3-on-3 play with the new All-Star format, a tournament featuring three-man teams made up of players from each division. It makes for a potentially exciting tweak to feature the skill of the game's biggest stars. It also gives us an opportunity to talk about 3-on-3 overtime during the regular season. What do you guys think? Is it working out? My initial impression at the start of the season was that it wasn't hockey. I didn't necessarily like it. But as we've watched teams learn how to play and succeed in 3-on-3, I've been completely converted. Possessing the puck is everything in 3-on-3 and it's fun to see the strategies evolve as teams try to get an edge in overtime. If a game is going to overtime, I don't miss it, which isn't the case with the shootout. It was interesting to talk to St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock right before the break, who said he and his staff watch every single overtime game the following morning and analyze what coaches are doing around the league. My guess is we're going to see even more evolution and, with that, a drop in goal-scoring. But right now, I love it. You?
@ESPN_Burnside: Craig, you and I were in Las Vegas last June when the NHL's general managers ushered in the 3-on-3 era, and it was a bit of a shock, given that we felt there would be a hybrid of 4-on-4 and 3-on-3, as was the case in the American Hockey League. But it's an experiment that has worked like a charm. Of the 171 games that required overtime, 109 of them (63.7 percent) have been decided via 3-on-3 hockey. Through the corresponding number of games last season, the percentage of overtime periods with goals was 45.1 (84 of 186), which tells you why so many people hated the shootout. We know the NHLPA has watched closely the wear and tear on the game's top players, who invariably log the most ice time in overtime, but it hasn't been too bad. The average length of overtime sessions has been 3:25, about half-minute shorter than the average 4-on-4 session a year ago. And as Dallas Stars superstar Tyler Seguin told us, as regulation time winds down in a tie game he gets excited at the prospect of 3-on-3, and when your top players are getting pumped up for OT, that's a good sign. Bring it on, my friend.
@ESPNJoeyMac: I thought it was a good idea from the beginning and I've enjoyed watching it this season. I like how each coach has a different strategy. I like how goalies can factor into the offense by springing a player on a breakaway with a pass. It showcases the ultimate philosophy of time and space and how the best players in the world can compete with so much open ice. The best part is the percentage of games ending in a shootout has decreased, and fans are leaving happy with the end result. It's going to be interesting to see how it translates at this weekend's All-Star festivities. I'm not sure players, especially the goalies, are too thrilled with the idea of a 3-on-3 format, because there will be a lot more skating involved than a normal All-Star game. Overall, though, I've enjoyed the new regular-season format.
@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Three-on-three is terrific in overtime in a real game. In Sunday's setting, it unfortunately will get devalued in a hurry because it's not a real game. You can't blame the players, it's how they're wired. The urgency of the extra point in 3-on-3 overtime is what has made it such a fabulous add-on this season. There will be no such urgency Sunday. I don't blame the league for trying it. After all, the All-Star game is on life support and something had to be done. But I think after a few minutes on Sunday, it'll be the same boring, lifeless experience that we're used to seeing in All-Star games past.
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