January 03, 2014

Not So Great Moments In Hockey History

Hockey has always been a game that is constantly evolving. If we were to break the sport's history into 30 year segments, each segment would look remarkably different.

Many of the innovations have been for the better - artificial ice, forward passing, offside rules, coaching tactics, video usage, equipment changes - but not every innovation has worked out. Some have fail epically.

Here's a look at the some of the not so great ideas in hockey history that the NHL would like to forget:

1. FoxTrax - The idea was to make it easier for fans - ostensibly American non-hockey fans, to follow the puck during games on television. The glowing puck shot across the tv screen like Hailey's comet. It was not only completely unnecessary and an utter distraction, but it was a colossal failure. Grassroots fans - Canadian and American alike - hated it with a great passion.

Fox used the glowing puck in the 1996 NHL All Star Game and in a few regular season games afterwards, but - thankfully - like the puck on the TV the idea quickly faded away.

2. Cooperalls - The Philadelphia Flyers tried to make a fashion statement in 1981-82 when they took to the ice wearing long pants. No one liked the pants except for the Hartford Whalers who followed suit the following season. The NHL banned the pants - named after the manufacturer Cooper - after the 1982-83 season, claiming they were safety concerns. We all know the real reason - the pants just downright looked silly.

3. The Foot In The Crease Rule - In 1998-99 the NHL tried to protect its' goaltenders by disallowing any goal if any player on the scoring team had a foot - or even a baby toe - in the crease. This caused all sorts of disruptions and delays in the game and disallowed goals in a time when the NHL was desperate for more offensive hockey. There was plenty of controversies along the way, of course. The most controversial was the final goal of the season. Brett Hull of Dallas scored the Stanley Cup winning goal in overtime. The team erupted in celebration and amidst all the euphoria game officials neglected to note that his foot was in the crease.

4. Non-Game Day Suspensions - Gil Stein served as the NHL president in 1992-93. He was the shortest serving NHL boss, and with ideas like the non-game day suspension you can understand why. Instead of suspending players for games, he would allow players to play games, but not allow the suspended player to practice with his team on non-game days for the duration of the suspension. the idea was to keep the NHL players in games so fans could always see them play.


Anonymous said...

Cooperalls were dangerous. When you fell in them and slid along the ice, you did not slow down at all. Unlike when you fall wearing typical gear which provides far more friction to help you mitigate crashes into boards/nets/other players. T

Anonymous said...

They were also dangerous because other players that saw you wearing them would beat you senseless for embarrassing the sport.

mike wyman said...

Fox puck might have come in handy in the early going on Wednesday. Grudgingly admit it may have some limited utility for outdoor games