SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- More overtime and fighting changes could be coming to the NHL after a test run in the minors.
The American Hockey League will experiment next season with seven-minute overtime in the regular season, with 3-on-3 beginning at the first whistle beyond three minutes, the league announced Thursday. That means there could be as many as four minutes of 3-on-3 overtime.
If successful in reducing shootouts, the rule could make its way to the NHL. The league is implementing two smaller changes next season, with teams switching ends and a the ice getting a dry scrape before OT. The AHL will also do the dry scrape and long line change for regular-season overtimes.
In another rule change, the AHL will give an automatic game misconduct to a player involved in two fights in a game. Three major penalties of any kind will also lead to a game misconduct.
That's still not close to the international rule where one fight results in ejection, but it's a step toward reducing fighting.
Another change is that a player who loses his helmet won't be able to complete his shift. He'll get a minor penalty unless he immediately goes to the bench or puts the helmet, with chin strap, back on.
AHL president and CEO David Andrews said the changes were approved by the board of governors with support of the competition committee and player development committee "with the betterment of our game and the safety of our players in mind."
Last season the NHL made visors mandatory for players entering the league and those with 25 games or fewer of experience.