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GMs wrap up 3 days of NHL meetings with talk of changes to faceoff

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BOCA RATON, Florida — Changes to faceoffs and overtime could be coming to the NHL.

The league's general managers considered those changes at meetings on Wednesday. The faceoff proposal has the defenseman putting his stick down first. The change includes the neutral zone, except for the center ice dot where the visiting team will continue to put their stick down first.

"I think anything that you can create to create a little more offense is good," Colorado general manager Joe Sakic said. "Obviously as a former centerman, you always feel you have a little more of an advantage if you can get in there second. ... To try and help the offense, why not try it? I think it's a good idea."

The GMs agreed Tuesday to recommend some type of three-on-three beginning next season. But they are still debating whether to add time to the extra session or begin overtime three-on-three instead of four-on-four. The addition of a coach's challenge related to goalie interference was also discussed.

"We're still not sure on three-on-three, four-on-four whether it's a five-minute or a seven-minute procedure," the NHL's executive vice president and director of hockey operations, Colin Campbell said. "One point we made is if they (the general managers) felt the extra two minutes was more stress on their players. The point I made in talking to our managers was there's going to be a little less stress on, arguably, your most important player, your goaltender, who will have less shootouts to face."

Steve Webb, a representative for the players union, attended the three days of meetings.

"I know 3 on 3 is a big topic right now," Webb said. "I think the players are having conversations about it. I think it intrigues the guys, to see what the effects are going to be playing 3 on 3."

The suggested rule change for goalie interference calls for a coach's challenge. The coach must have a timeout to make the challenge, and the challenge is only to determine whether or not there was a goal.

The competition committee has to approve any rule changes. They will meet in Las Vegas in June.

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