Wednesday, December 12, 2007


The NHL is Secretly Testing the Thermablades

by Jes

Back in mid-October, I ranted about the prospect of a new, heated skate blade (The Thermablade), which would help melt the ice a bit so that players could skate faster.

Obviously, I'm not a big fan of adding mechanical elements to the game, as it'll turn the sport more into a NASCAR-type sport, where it's more about the equipment and machinery, rather than the more 'pure' sport we've come to expect.

Now, I realize that all of today's equipment has been enhanced from ye olde days, such as composite sticks and Kevlar, but it still requires the play to actually, you know, do everything mechanically. The heated skate blades? The equipment, itself, is doing work, even when the player is not.

A stick by itself is just a stick, same with a shin pad. The Thermablade? It works on its own, and could set a dangerous precedent. I mean, are we going to allow goaltenders to have motion detectors so they can find pucks they normally can't see? Should we allow golfers to have springs in their clubs that give their shots an extra 30 feet?

Well, it appears the NHL has been secretly testing the new Thermablade, and wants to ramp up their efforts ...

Heated skate blades that are supposed to enhance performance are being used by four anonymous NHL players.

The four teams they play for asked that their names be kept secret so the Thermablades on their feet didn't draw media attention and their use become a distraction, says Kris King, the NHL's Toronto-based senior manager of hockey operations.

King says he's found no problems after conducting follow-ups with the four players who have been skating on them for several weeks now and their equipment managers. He's waiting for the players' association to complete its evaluation. The two groups will then huddle and decide whether to conduct further tests in conjunction with the company.

"We've looked at this from a safety concern," says King. "When you start putting battery packs and holders in the skate blade, we want to make sure the high-impact shots being taken don't lead to small pieces laying on the ice".

"From what I gather from my talks, I don't believe it to be a safety concern."
To stress a point I made before, we know that NHL ice surfaces run into problems, especially in warmer climates, of staying fresh and free of slushiness. Bringing heated skate blades into the equation should only cause the ice to melt and get chopped up even faster, possibly leading to more groin injuries and more bouncing picks.

Does the NHL really need to open up this can of worms? Have they ever watched the Terminator series? :) Besides, do we want to contribute to Global Warming? *yuk yuk*

*** Help me caption this photo of Emilio Estevez over at the NHL FanHouse. C'mon, people, get your caption caps on!

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Worst idea since the RBK Edge Uniform System Matrix Complex Incorporated(TM).
1) Perhaps the NHL should fix the ice before experimenting with new skates! Some buildings in the US the ice is as bad/worse than some ponds!
2) MSG in NY and Verizon in DC have got to be the 2 worst in North America. Players are going to(continue to) get hurt until this issue is resolved!
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