For the first time, regular-season games are being paused before overtime so the ice can get a "dry scrape." The hope was to improve the quality of play and reduce the number of shootouts deciding games.
Early evidence suggested that it — along with changing ends in overtime — was working, but GMs will discuss the dry scrape because of the time it's adding to games and the momentum that it may be stopping at the end of regulation.
"That's an interesting one," Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving said Monday at the Prime Time Sports Management Conference. "It used to break up between overtime and the shootout. Now it kinds of breaks up between the game and overtime. But the ice is better."
Some players have complained about the dry scrape, which seems to delay overtime four to six minutes after the third period ends. Treliving said his experience was that it wasn't taking very long but he was interested to see data on how it was helping.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said getting rid of the dry scrape is "one possibility." That would require approval of the GMs, board of governors and Players' Association.
If it were up to Nashville Predators GM Dave Poile, the NHL would do away with the dry scrape right away, even though he believes it was instituted for all the right reasons.
"The big word everybody uses is buzz kill," Poile said. "There's no question. I got up and stretched my legs in the first one and a lot of people were getting up and leaving and I said that's a mistake. We've got to rectify that."
The Ontario Hockey League got rid of the dry scrape in early October after going through long delays.
Stars GM Jim Nill said the delays have only been four minutes in Dallas, so he doesn't mind.
At the NHL level, there may not be enough momentum to cut the dry-scrape experiment shorter than at least this season. Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said he was fine with it.
"It doesn't bother me one bit," Bergevin said.
Treliving added that while he wants to hear debate on the issue, he doesn't think it's a big deal and doesn't "feel overly emotional one way or another."
Another topic that's expected to be on the agenda once again is three-on-three play in overtime. The American Hockey League is trying some of it this year, and a prospects tournament in Traverse City, Mich., also experimented with it.
Nill has seen it in the AHL and likes it.
"So many things can happen," Nill said. "If somebody breaks a stick out there and you're stuck in your end with the long change, it just changes the whole dynamic. I think it's a great way to end the game without getting to the shootout."
Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland has long been a proponent of making three-on-three part of NHL overtime. But Daly isn't sure the rest of the crowd is ready to get on board.
"I know there continues to be some resistance to that happening," Daly said.
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