TORONTO -- The idea of 3-on-3 hockey conjures images of odd-man rushes, end-to-end offense and fire-wagon hockey.
There were flashes of that at the 2011 NHL Research and Development Camp, as the overtime format was tested for a second straight summer. Just not enough of them.
"It was tight checking," said Daulton Siwak of the Red Deer Rebels, one of the prospects who took part in the camp. "I thought it'd open up a little more than it did."
No kidding. For those hoping for 3-on-3 overtime as an alternative to ending games with a skills competition (looks in mirror, points and nods), the morning session didn't really produced the desired kinetic effect.
NHL vice president Brendan Shanahan, the man behind the R&D camp, said the players came out hard during the two-hour session and, by the time the overtime formats were tested, ended up a little tired and tight.
"This was a tough scrimmage for them. They all had a lot of energy, they were pretty nervous last night," he said.
By no means should the format be judged by this year's presentation; or, to that end, by last year's far more thrilling example at R&D camp. Colin Campbell, Shanahan's predecessor as NHL discipline czar, said the format will only be as good as the talent playing in it; having NHL players go 3-on-3 would produce everything from highlight-reel goals to inventive, home-run passes.
Anyone up for a little 3-on-3 hockey in the NHL All-Star Game skills competitions?