By Ashley Dunkak
@AshleyDunkak

CBS DETROIT – As early as next season, the NHL could switch its overtime format from five minutes of 4-on-4 play to five minutes of 3-on-3 play.

READ MORE: Science of Weather: Sea Life Michigan Turtles

Another option the league is considering is the format used in the American Hockey League, where teams play 4-on-4 for three minutes and, after the next whistle, switch to 3-on-3 for the rest of the seven-minute period.

“I’d rather go 3-on-3 from the start,” left wing Henrik Zetterberg said Wednesday. “Just go the full five minutes 3-on-3, and if you do that, there’s a good chance it will be ending before shootouts.

“Playing 3-on-3, it’s a lot of fun, a lot of movement,” Zetterberg said. “It will be real exciting for fans … Whoever has the puck will have a good chance, and if they don’t score, it’s a good chance there’s going to be an odd-man rush the other way. We’ll see a lot more games be decided in overtimes.”

Zetterberg said going to 3-on-3 would be an adjustment for teams but not necessarily a difficult one.

READ MORE: Motown Museum Set To Reopen This Weekend With Expansion Project Near Completion

“We’ll probably have to try it out in practices and stuff, but basically it’s man-on-man,” Zetterberg said. “You have your guy, and if you lose him, he will be open.”

Goaltender Jimmy Howard did not believe the fan experience would be diminished by 3-on-3 play in overtime, a change that should reduce the number of games that come down to shootouts.

“Everyone is on their feet for the shootout, but I think you’re going to see that just as much in the 3-on-3 overtime because I think there’s going to be a lot of trading chances out there,” Howard said.

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland has long been a proponent of the change. He noted that while the league does not seek to eliminate the shootout, it does want to see more games end with entire teams on the ice.

MORE NEWS: Senate GOP Facing Criticism Following Insulin Cap Vote

“In both cases, what we’re trying to accomplish is take where 40 percent of our games are decided in overtime and 60 percent in shootouts — ideally we’d like to switch those numbers,” Holland said, per ESPN. “We still want shootouts; we think fans like shootouts. But we’re trying to get more games decided playing hockey in overtime.”