TORONTO -- They’re scrapping the scrape.
The league’s 30 GMs voted to get rid of the dry scrape that delays the start of overtime, a move that had just come in for this season, because of the delay it caused between the third period and overtime.
"That was my bad idea, yeah," Red Wings GM Ken Holland said after the six-hour meeting wrapped up Tuesday.
Well, Holland has had plenty of great ideas, but this one just didn’t work out. Just too long of a delay before overtime.
"The feeling in there was the dry scrape is a buzzkill," Holland said. "It is just taking too long to get from the end of the game back to playing, so we're going to use people to shovel the ice, try within 90 seconds to two minutes to get back up and playing."
NHL executive Colin Campbell said the dry scrape would be gone by Saturday’s NHL games.
"It's not good for the fans, it hasn't been good for the players," Campbell said of the dry scrape before OT. "We were trying to come up with good ice, and we were trying to have more completions in overtime. Results aren't great at more completions in overtime, and more than anything it was a killer for everybody at the end of the game.
"The shovels will be out and we'll move on Saturday."
Added Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: "I think the issue is for the betterment of the game, the flow of the game. We felt there’s just a little too much of a break leading into the overtime period. The goal is to get the momentum back into the game and to shorten the break."
Predators GM David Poile said some fans were leaving the game because of the delay.
"We thought we were giving the players the best possible ice surface for overtime, it was a good reasoning, but it certainly was a momentum killer, too," Poile said. "Not only the players but equally, if not more importantly, the fans. I know in our market in Nashville, when they put up that five minutes [for the dry scrape] it was kind of a 'uh oh' situation and we lost a lot of fans for the overtime. So I think we’ve made the right decision to make the change back. No harm, no foul."
The 30 GMs agreed to further examine at the March three-day GMs meeting the impact of the AHL’s three-on-three overtime, which has so far dramatically reduced shootouts.
"We should wait and see exactly how it goes in the American League," Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said. "And also what the end result is, because it can change. It's very early in the season. It's certainly been a discussion, three-on-three. It's been a topic the last couple of years, and I'm sure will continue to be. I wouldn’t be surprised if someday we see it. We won't see it this year. We have a sampling going on in the American League and we should use it."
Holland was the GM who originally proposed adding three-on-three to OT a few years ago and, judging from the comments of many of his GM colleagues Tuesday, he’s got more and more support for it now that they’ve seen it work in the AHL.
Holland himself saw it in an AHL game recently.
"I saw on Saturday night in Grand Rapids," said the veteran Wings GM. "I thought it was fabulous."
Holland tried it out over the years in the Traverse City prospects tournament, as well. The idea, of course, is to minimize the number of games decided by shootouts.
"I don't want to beat it up because you've heard this all before. We were one of two teams that didn't vote for the shootout in 2005," Holland said. "I understand that we need to bring the game to a conclusion. I brought some ideas to the table. I've been watching the numbers. Last year 60 percent of the games that ended tied in regulation went to the shootout. We're trying to bring those numbers down a little bit, maybe 60-40 [the other way]. I think right now we're about 50-50, so let's see what goes on between now and March."
Said one GM who wanted his name kept out: "We’re getting three-on-three next year, I’m 90 percent sure of it."
EXPANDED VIDEO REVIEW
Just as if it’s Groundhog Day, the GMs yet again beat up the topic of expanded video review. That’s been the case for years now. It’ll be the case again in March when the GMs meet for their longer gathering.
"We talked about the goalie interference [and video review], it's a popular topic at every meeting and just the goal of getting it right, basically," Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said. "It's so hard for the referees and the speed of the game and how it happens at ice level. I guess we want to further talk about and have a discussion about how we can review to get them right more than wrong and still not have too many reviews and slow the process of the game too much."
Veteran GM David Poile said despite the seemingly endless discussion over the years on video review, there has been progress.
"The first thing I'd want to say on that is I think we've made so many steps in the right direction to get the call right," Poile said. "Again, it is never going to be perfect in the game of hockey with the amount of physical contact that we have. I think, like the tortoise and the hare, I think we are working at it at a good pace. We aren't doing anything that totally disrupts or reinvents the wheel, so to speak. A lot of what we do in November is to set up the bigger meeting in March when we break into committees and what have you. We're all for helping the war room here to help them make the best decisions possible and for them to help the referees make the best decisions possible."
Three ideas were once again brought up Tuesday:
-- A coach's challenge, like in football when a coach can ask for a video review
-- Simply giving the Toronto war room an expanded list of plays it can review
-- Putting a TV monitor in the penalty box for referees to review plays they want to give a second look
The monitor in the penalty box has sizable support among many GMs, but not as much with the league head office. It’s Poile’s idea.
"Specifically, I brought up the monitor and whether that would be a situation that could be helpful," Poile said. "It was just me bringing that up. I think a lot of people had their points and nothing was decided today. We are all happy with where we are but we're not satisfied until we get all of the goals right. We're striving for perfection, you could say."
Said another GM, who didn't want his name used: "I like David’s idea of the monitor in the box because it takes away some of the embarrassment factor for the refs; they get to correct their own calls and control the process. Makes sense."
Regardless, look for more of this video review talk in March.
QUINTAL'S FIRST CRACK AT GMs
Stephane Quintal addressed a GMs meeting for the first time since taking over officially as chief of NHL discipline.
His focus Tuesday was on knee-on-knee hits.
"We spoke about the knee-on-knee incidents; we’re seeing an increase of lower-body injuries, more knee incidents," Quintal said. "In the past, we only suspended players when there was an injury. I’m very sensitive to that, so I was asking them if I could raise the standard on that."
Quintal said over the past two seasons, it was one kneeing incidents every 24 games and so far this season, it's one incident every 14 games. So why the trend up?
"We’re paying attention to it," Quintal said.
NHL WILL STOP PLAY ON MISSED GOAL
The GMs and the league also agreed Tuesday that starting immediately, the Toronto situation room will buzz down to an NHL rink and stop play if a clear goal was missed by on-ice officials.
"We will stop play if we see that a puck went in the net and we determine that a goal was scored," said Campbell. "We'll stop play now. If it's 20 seconds, we'll call and say that goal was in. We're not going to let play go for a minute and a half. We'll buzz. We'll say blow the horn."
MURRAY AT GMs MEETING
Veteran GM Bryan Murray was at the meeting Tuesday and was asked afterward about his decision to come out regarding the severity of his cancer in an interview with TSN last week.
"I didn't want to do any public announcement or anything like that, but when I talked to TSN and Michael Farber and I had the opportunity to sell the idea, if that's the right word, that colonoscopies to all of us are important and I didn't do that," Murray said. "I thought the message could be and should be loud enough that it might affect some people and save some people. I'm getting the impression that that was the case and that's why I did it."
His TSN interview has already had an impact in that regard.
"I've had quite a number of people ... I've had some former players call me that played for me years ago that hadn't had any kind of medical attention to that area," Murray said. "A nurse told me last night that four or five people at one of the clinics in Ottawa sent in and said because of the interview, they're kind of smart enough now to step up and get themselves examined. I hope and feel that it's the right message and a good message and it's worthwhile."
A great message indeed.