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Illegal Curve- Defined

If you wanted to know what Illegal Curve is all about, you could easily read our mission statement found on our home page:

“With the proliferation of blogging in today’s world, we at Illegal Curve figured that hockey fans needed a place to come for all different sorts of hockey information. Essentially, we want to minimize the usual surfing a web-reader normally does, and instead increase reader efficiency. Our website has a number of contributors whose goal is to keep you completely up-to-date on the hockey happenings in the world on an hourly basis.”

But what’s in a name? Why Illegal Curve?

We chose the name because Illegal Curve is a term synonymous with hockey. Whether it conjures up images of Marty McSorley costing Gretz a 5th cup during the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and Montreal Canadiens or it reminds some of the 1950’s when players like Bill Quackenbush of the Boston Bruins were forbidden to use any curve whatsoever, the fact remains the same. It represents the politics, history and sportsmanship of hockey.

This definition of Illegal Curve was found on

The curve of the blade is subject to strict rules in all levels of hockey. If the curve exceeds 1/2 an inch, the player is generally given a minor penalty.[6] This can be tested by lying the stick flat, and attempting to slip a vertical dime under the blade without touching. More accurate measurements can be made using a device which some referees are equipped with called a stick gauge. For the 2005-06 season, the NHL has changed the curve limit to 3/4 of an inch.
There is some controversy as to whether the NHL curve limit rule has any impact on game fairness; the argument being that the curve has no inherent advantage, and so the rules simply penalize players who prefer more curve. If the curve were inherently helpful, one would expect to find very few high-scoring players using slight curves; however, such players are in fact numerous. For example, NHL player Jarome Iginla uses a very slight curve and was awarded the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer of the 2003-2004 NHL season. Some other players regarded for their scoring abilities and who use slight curves are Chris Drury, Mike Modano, Marian Hossa, Marian Gaborik, Martin Havlat and Martin St. Louis. One event anecdotally supporting this theory occurred when NHL player Ilya Kovalchuk had been accused of breaking NHL curve limit rules by the Edmonton Oilers during a game. Kovalchuk was assessed a 2 minute minor penalty and was given a stick with a legal curve. Immediately after leaving the penalty box, Kovalchuk received a pass from a teammate and scored what would result in the game winning goal. After scoring Kovalchuk skated past the Oiler bench and pointed at his legal stick in mockery.

Thus, the Illegal Curve is an enigma of sorts: some proponents say it gives players an unfair advantage, while others argue players who prefer more curve are not delinquent. Regardless, the readers of Illegal Curve shall not be penalized, as all of our contributors use a straight blade, like Doug Gilmour or perhaps Billy Quackenbush would use.

For Illegal Curve, I’m Ezra Ginsburg.