Used Curved Blade
Though the Blackhawks' post-season fortunes were not great despite quality players, Mikita had his best years in the mid to late 1960s. In about 1963, Mikita made a discovery that added to his scoring prowess. Mikita claimed that he cracked an old blade and did not want to get another one from the dressing room during a practice. He saw that the puck reacted differently, and he and Hull began experimenting with curves on their blades. The puck would be like a knuckleball in baseball—moving unexpectedly, fooling the goalie. Though Andy Bathgate of the New York Rangers claimed to be the first to use a curved blade, credit was generally given to Mikita. Despite the fact that Mikita scored much because of it, he later claimed it was an error because backhands were essentially eliminated.