Five innovations that could make hockey more exciting

Evgeni Malkin amazes with a spin-o-rama move as well as Pavel Datsyuk's 300th career goal and Patrick Kane extends his point streak to 19 games.

Let’s be honest: Hockey is a pretty exciting game.

Heck, you could absolutely argue that it’s the most exciting sport to watch.

As thrilling as the game of hockey is, there are those who believe it could be ratcheted up a notch. Let’s dabble in that mindset for a moment, shall we?

Well, we’ve done a little brainstorming and dreamed up a few “what if…” scenarios, and come up with five innovations and ideas that could have the power to up the NHL’s excitement level.

More overtime
This season marks the first year of the league’s new 3-on-3 overtime format, and so far it’s gotten rave reviews from fans. Yet, as effective as this new OT has been in terms of scaling back the number of games ending in a shootout, we’re still seeing plenty of games unresolved once the five-minute period is up.

So why not give fans more of what they want? Add more 3-on-3 overtime — how about 10 minutes, instead of five? Or change the structure of overtime altogether: Five minutes of 4-on-4, then five minutes of 3-on-3. And if it’s still unresolved? OK, shootout it is. Heck, just end it in a tie even.

Bigger nets, smaller goalie equipment
Ah, the goalie debate. It’s been a hot topic so far this season, with many hockey minds asking how we can boost scoring in the NHL. Increasing net size and decreasing that size-XXL goalie gear (while still ensuring safety, of course) could result in more acrobatic netminder performances, more goals, and more of that bright red goal light.

Want another idea? Sportsnet’s P.J. Stock suggests not altering the goalie equipment so much as changing their stick:

Three-game series in the regular season
Let’s take a page out of baseball’s book for a minute here… what if hockey’s regular season was set up in three-game series? It could have the power to inject a playoff vibe into the regular season. More story lines, more rivalries, and more team-targeted strategy — not to mention, some excellent hockey road trips for fans. What could go wrong? (OK. Don’t answer that.)

No icing on the penalty kill
Quick: What’s the best tactic for killing off a penalty? Icing the puck, right? Well, what if we enforced the icing rule against short-handed teams? It would certainly alter the special teams units’ style of play, force teams to carry the puck more and change the pace of those two minutes instantly by nixing the dump-it-out option.

Speaking of icing… another idea could be to move the icing line — currently at the red line at centre ice — to each team’s blue line. It would change the defensive game, forcing them to cover a much larger neutral zone, and give offences more space to navigate through it.

All-Star alterations
This season’s All-Star Game will feature a new 3-on-3 bracket-style tournament, which is sure to up the interest and the excitement level of what has become a beer-league-level game over the last few years.

Another way to add to the atmosphere would be to take it outside. The NHL’s stadium series and outdoor games have been wildly popular for fans, and it would be a great way to embrace the tradition of hockey even more when the game’s biggest stars take the ice together.

Budweiser is currently unveiling three new “innovations” a month and you can vote on which one you’d like them to make. Just follow this link to cast your vote. Must be 18 years of age or older.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.