TORONTO -- Some NHL players are about to find out if heated skate blades will make the cut.
Six to 10 players will try them. If there are no glitches, the blades then would begin appearing in NHL games.
Thermablades use a rechargeable battery and microprocessor within each skate blade to maintain a temperature of 41 degrees. The warm blade increases the thickness of the water layer between the blade and ice surface, and the company, Therma Blade Inc., said its tests have shown this reduces gliding friction and starting resistance for skaters.
"The NHL is very interested in confirming the data provided by Therma Blade Inc. to establish the safety and reliability of the blade under NHL game conditions, and we have agreed to allow a small group of players to test these blades in practices over the next few weeks," said Kris King, the NHL's senior manager of hockey operations.
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The NHLPA welcomes trials for the heated blades.
"There is a lot of interest among players throughout the NHL ... to see how Thermablade performs under game conditions," said Stu Grimson, the union's associate counsel.
TUESDAY'S GAMES -- Anze Kopitar scored a short-handed goal in the third period, and host Los Angeles connected on all three shots in the shootout to beat Minnesota 4-3. ... Jeff Carter and Sami Kapanen scored 34 seconds apart in the second period, and Martin Biron recorded his first shutout since joining host Philadelphia in a 4-0 victory over winless Atlanta. ... Nathan Horton tied the game with 10.2 seconds left in regulation and Jozef Stumpel scored the only shootout goal to give visiting Florida a 2-1 win over Montreal. ... Ryan Smyth had a goal and an assist, then scored the decisive goal in the shootout as host Colorado rallied from a four-goal deficit to beat Calgary 5-4.