Why Claude Julien and the Bruins still consider new OT a work in progress

Mike Petraglia
September 25, 2015 - 8:22 am
You can safely assume when on-ice officials are explaining what happens to a head coach in the middle of a play, there is still some uncertainty about the rules. Such is the case with the reformatted overtime in the NHL. On Thursday night, Bruins defenseman Matt Irwin took a hooking penalty 1:25 into the extra period. Instead of the Bruins going down a man, the Rangers went up a man. The reason? The NHL is introducing the 3-on-3 overtime this season. To avoid a 3-on-2 situation that would be more like a pre-game warmup rush, the NHL decided to go with a modified power play that would be identical to overtimes of the past. But while that was difficult enough to get used to, what happened next was even a little more peculiar. The Rangers, getting mixed up with the extra man line changes of the new overtime, took a too many men on the ice when they wound up with the puck and six skaters on the ice. Veteran referee Eric Furlatt went over to Claude Julien to explain that the Bruins would not gain an extra man and go 4-on-4 but rather the Rangers would lose their additional man on the ice. Then the Bruins would have their own 4-on-3 once Irwin's penalty expired. Neither team scored and the Bruins would win the preseason game, 4-3, in seven rounds of a shootout. Still, the experience was much more helpful than Tuesday night's encounter with the Capitals, a game that featured 3-on-3 for all of 12 seconds before David Pastrnak scored. "Any of that stuff helps, right, because you see even the referees, the referees at first thought it was going to be four-on-four," Julien said after Thursday's game. "We thought it was going to end up five-on-four, and then no. They came back and said it'€™s a three-on-three, and back to a four-on-three. So there'€™s some things that everybody can learn from that, so for us, I thought it was a great experience when you'€™re talking about preseason, you might as well go through those and experience it right now." Brett Connolly had his own take. "It'€™s going to be exciting. I think for the players it'€™s going to take a little bit to get used to," Connolly said. "There'€™s a lot of room, you'€™ve got to make sure you'€™re always on top of your checks; one little mistake and it'€™s going to be in the back of your net and vice versa. Once you figure it out, you'€™ll see teams that are getting good at it. We'€™ll hopefully pick on a few little things to try, but again, that was the first time for a lot of the guys in the room, so we'€™ll get better. "I think that you'€™re playing five-on-five the whole game and then you go into three-on-three and completely change your mindset moving forward. We took a penalty there a couple shifts in. That'€™s kind of one of those things where you get beat once, you got to take a guy down because they'€™re on a two-on-one really close to the net. We'€™ll get better, obviously we'€™ve only had a couple of them, but it makes for exciting hockey and once teams figure it out it will be interesting." The open ice in overtime is certainly a double-edged sword for speed skaters like Brad Marchand. "It was interesting," Marchand said. "There'€™s a lot of room out there obviously, and it'€™s tough because you want to play offensively but at the same time you'€™ve got to be aware of where they are on the ice because as soon as you get the puck guys are breaking for two on ones and three on ones, stuff like that. So, there'€™s going to be a lot of goals this year in OT. I think that'€™s for sure."