I Like My Blades X-tra HOT

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 The NHL is experimenting with heated skate blades.  The theory (and apparently, the reality according to quotes of people who’ve tried them) is that the heated blades create a layer of water that allows players to skate faster; kind of like skating on a freshly zambonied (he he) sheet of ice.  Four NHLers are currently using the skates and there are articles suggesting they’re using them in games. 

If it’s true that they’re letting only four players use them in games, I have some issues with the integrity of that practice.  If they are an advantage, then it is possible that a playoff spot is being decided RIGHT NOW by one of these players who has that advantage.  Take a look at the standings; there are going to be more than a few teams 1 or 2 points out of a spot come April.  The advantage may be small, but sometimes that’s all it takes; just a split second faster to the puck or down the wing.

More than the integrity issue though is what’s freakin next?  Are they going to start putting mini-jet packs on the skates to make these guys supersonic?  How about hydraulic sticks for more power on the shots? (I just flingin’ poo here, people)  How about Steve Austin plays goal?  (If you’re 40, you know what I’m talking about)

They are fundamentally changing the function of a skate; or at least, adding a function.  Come to think of it, they’ve already changed the function of goalie pads, so who cares?  I give up. 

Richards

12 years is a long long long contract and that’s what Flyer, Mike Richards has received.  I know it’s not unprecedented, but this is the first time a sane person has offered a contract that long.  Then again, the Flyers gave a 30 year old Briere an 8 year contract so the Holmgren sanity is in question.  I am looking forward to the day when one of these contracts blows up on a team.  (please don’t be Spezza or Heatley, please don’t be Spezza or Heatley, please don’t be Spezza or Heatley) 

Sure, it (the blow up) has happened with Yashin, but that was not in the salary cap era.  Teams who are stuck with an underperformer at $5, 6, 7 or 9 million dollars/season are going to be completely screwed.  Is Briere going to be an effective player at age 38 for $6.5 million?  I don’t know.  It’s not out of the question, but I would bet against it (if I tended to gamble).  I know teams get a cap exemption for a player if he’s injured long term, but my guess is that some owners out there are going to be none too happy when their $8 million man is out for 4 years with a case of stickupmynosis and he’s on the hook for it, regardless of how his team’s cap is affected.

Sens’ Stuff

Many media outlets continue to refer to Spezza, Heatley and Alfie as the big line for Ottawa.  Well, they’re not currently a line and haven’t been for a while; they’ve been split up for at least the last 3 games.  This may well be a case of Paddock splitting them up on the road where the opponent has the last change.  But, Alfie has been skating with Fisher and Foglino while Robitaille has been on the Spezza line. 

Boo Boos and Owies

Volchenkov is still a month away.  Eaves is still a month away.  McGratton fell on his shoulder after given a ride to Lightsoutville by Georges Laraque.  Here’s an idea, Brian….hit him with your purse.  (please don’t tell him I said that) No timetable is set for his return.

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