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NHL dry scrape on way out; Chris Pronger on way to Hall of Fame?

NHL Players' Assn. expected to OK end of Zamboni dry scrape of ice before overtime periods

Say goodbye to the dry scrape, that tedious, buzz-killing, momentum-stopping procedure the NHL instituted before this season in an effort to provide good ice for overtime games and, as a result, reduce the number of shootouts.

The dry scrape — running a Zamboni or sometimes two over the ice without releasing water to flood the surface — will be eliminated as of Saturday if the NHL Players’ Assn. approves, which is expected. Instead of a dry scrape, ice crews in each arena will shovel the ice to prepare it for overtime.

The decision was made during a meeting of general managers in Toronto on Tuesday.

The procedure had come under fire because the delay to complete the dry scrape often became an opportunity for fans to leave. It also halted the momentum and emotion built up during the final moments of regulation play.

Here’s the Canadian Press story on the elimination of the dry scrape and general managers’ renewal of their discussion of three-on-three overtime.

Also, according to ESPN, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s board of directors approved what should be known as the Chris Pronger rule when it clarified eligibility for election to include players who have not played for three years due to injury but have not retired and are still being paid.

That should open the way for Pronger, who last played in November 2011 but remains on the Philadelphia Flyers’ injured reserve list — and their payroll — because that provides the Flyers a better salary cap situation than if he officially retired.

He would still have to be nominated according to existing voting rules but he seems a shoo-in based on his long and dominant career, which includes a Stanley Cup championship with the Ducks in 2007.

In other action at the general managers’ meetings, the league’s Hockey Operations department was given a mandate to stop play immediately if it determines a legal goal has been scored but was missed by the on-ice officials. In the past, the game would continue until a stoppage of play occurred and a review could be initiated. Now, Hockey Operations can initiate a stoppage of play as soon as they confirm the puck has crossed the goal line in a legal manner.

They also agreed to reopen a discussion on three-on-three overtime in March, after they gather more data from the American Hockey League’s experimental rules. The AHL this season went to a seven-minute overtime period, playing four-on-four until the first whistle following three minutes of play, and then three-on-three for the remaining time. That format has led to fewer games going to a shootout.

Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen

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