The addition of 3-on-3 overtime drew the ire of some current players earlier this season. However, NHL legend Wayne Gretzky is a huge fan of the innovation.
“It’s one of the best moves the (NHL) has done in a long time,” Gretzky said Thursday on The Andrew Walker show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “It’s added some excitement and really brought in the average hockey fan…I just look at it as a real positive.”
The Hall of Fame centre says he’s not only fascinated with 3-on-3 overtime because of the energy and speed of the game, but Gretzky said what excites him most is that it’s almost “uncoachable.”
"I don't know you (how you) coach it because generally speaking you're going to put you're most creative players on the ice at that time of the game," he said. "With only three out there, the creativity and imagination takes over. You see guys out there like (Sidney) Crosby, (Steven) Stamkos, (Anze) Kopitar, and (Patrick) Kane. These guys get the puck and they go. That's what makes that part of the game so exciting."
Gretzky was the most dominant player of his era, breaking several offensive records throughout his playing career, but admitted it would've been tough to stop his old Edmonton Oilers teams in the 3-on-3 format if the current rules existed back in the 1980s.
"Between myself, (Mark Messier), and (Paul Coffey), I don't think we would've been worried about containing anybody. We would've got the puck and said 'try and get it back from us'. That's how we would've treated it."
Otherwise, Gretzky is excited about his scheduled appearance this weekend in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick for the World Pond Hockey Championship to have his name engraved on a goal light as part of an advertising campaign with Budweiser that will flash red every time Team Canada scores at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.
"We're going tomorrow morning at 4 a.m.," he said. "We'll miss the actual grand opening ceremony when they unveil the goal light. I'll be there early in the morning to take pictures and drop the puck before the first game. They have 120 teams coming in."