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Zeitgeist: To increase scoring, NHL to test out straight jackets for goalies

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Rather than making bigger nets or smaller equipment, the NHL sees old-fashioned restraint as the way to more scoring.

Drastic measures for drastic times
Drastic measures for drastic times

TORONTO -- NHL general managers spent part of their fall meeting Tuesday discussing potential ways to increase scoring and one idea gaining steam is restraining all goaltenders in institutional straight jackets.

"We are all going to wrap our heads around the straight jackets for a while and see if it makes sense," Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "We talked about goaltender equipment or bigger nets or style of play and those type of things. But one thing we all agreed on was that locking up the goalies arms and restricting use of their upper bodies would open up the nets in a big way."

"You should be able to tie up another team. So to do that, we'll tie up the goalies. Literally." - Colin Campbell

Tallon also said that straight jackets have already been issued to goalies for them to try on at practice or at home, and that full games with the restraints could happen as soon as the next pre-season.

The average of 5.32 goals scored through 215 games this season is the fewest goals scored per game since 5.14 in 2003-04. The NHL is concerned that as goals decrease, so will fan interest.

While replacing jerseys, blockers, gloves and sticks with a heavy canvas shirt adorned with straps and long sleeves that can be tied into knots behind a goalie's back seems like a drastic change, NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell sees the idea as one that will increase scoring chances overall.

"If you go down one or two goals, even three, you need the opportunity to come back," Campbell said. "You should be able to tie up another team. So to do that, we'll tie up the goalies. Literally."

First invented by a French upholsterer in 1790, the straight jacket (or straightjacket or straight-jacket) has most often been used to restrain people, usually with dangerous mental disorders, who could cause harm to themselves or others. Seen as archaic and unnecessarily cruel for medical usage today, the straight jacket still has a place in popular culture. This is believed to be the first time it has been considered by a legitimate sports league after years of use in underground torture rings for the enjoyment of sadistic doctors or prison guards.

"We've got the go-ahead from the owners, the general managers, the Players' Association and the American Psychiatric Association so this is what we're probably going with," Campbell said. "If the straight jackets don't work, maybe we have to look at amputation or, at the very least, blindfolding the goalies."

Campbell didn't rule out the possibility of goalies learning the tricks and tactics of escape artists such as Harry Houdini, who made breaking out of straight jackets a legendary part of his magic act in the 1920's. However, Campbell said that as a last resort, firing squads could be placed at arenas to make sure the goalies remain securely fastened throughout the entire game.

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This is fake. It is not real. Here are the real ideas discussed for increasing scoring, which do not include straight jackets, hand cuffs, muzzles, leashes, body condoms or any other restraining device.