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Photo: Norm Hall/NHLI/Getty Images

Thanks to technological innovation and a young crop of players obsessed with gaining even the slightest edge, the world of NHL skate blades is in the midst of a revolution.

Why it matters: Unlocking the combination of profile (i.e. shape) and depth that best suits each player can provide them with a huge advantage on the ice.

  • Now that removable blades are the norm, it's easy to swap them out from one game to another or even between shifts. As a result, players are constantly tinkering.
  • Full-service sharpening shops, which can ship players custom blades overnight, are on the rise.
  • Teams like the Canadiens have invested in machines that can sharpen blades better than any human ever could, all while keeping the its shape intact.

How it works: "There are different geometries for different positions (and skating strides, and weight classes, etc.), and the range of options is only broadening as profiling precision improves," writes The Athletic's Sean Gordon (subscription).

Courtesy Elite Blade Performance

The bottom line: "Skating axiomatically comes down to a trade-off between biting into the ice (i.e. control, agility in turns) and gliding across it (i.e. speed, efficiency)," writes Gordon.

  • "In general terms, you boost one at the expense of the other. But what if one were able to maximize both?"
  • "That's the Holy Grail NHL players, and the equipment managers who kit them out, are chasing. Relentlessly."

Go deeper: Selling the NHL's stars despite hockey's team-first attitude

Go deeper

Trump says he plans to launch new social media network in 2022

Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called "Truth Social," and that it would go public via a SPAC.

Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.

Beauty giant Coty Cosmetics looking to sell its own branded products

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi. Photo: Axios on HBO

Coty Cosmetics CEO Sue Nabi tells Axios the beauty giant will “probably” introduce Coty-branded products one day.

Why it matters: Coty produces some of the world’s most popular fragrances, skin care products and color cosmetics on behalf of other well-known brands, but has shied away from producing its own branded products.

4 hours ago - Sports

NFL to end race-based testing in concussion settlements

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The National Football League on Wednesday reached an agreement with former players to end the controversial practice of race-based adjustments in dementia testing, AP reports.

Why it matters: The deal, which must still be approved by a judge, comes amid a broader discussion of racial inequities in health care.