Hockey history is a rich tapestry of traditions, trends and innovations. Many stuck around to become part of the game's enduring fabric. Others, not so much. "It made sense at the time" is an ongoing feature in which we'll look back at one of the odder things that used to be part of the NHL's culture and wonder how exactly it made sense at the time and that everyone was OK with it.
At least week's board of governors' meeting, the NHL surprised no one by doing away with its much-maligned compensation plan for hiring coaches and GMs. The system had been meant to standardize compensation for teams that hired away personnel who were still under contract to other teams, but was doomed by confusion over whether it should apply to those who'd already been fired.
In other words, it was a nice idea in theory that turned into an embarrassing mess once it saw the light of day. It will probably not shock you to learn that this is not the first time this has happened to the NHL.
In the years leading up to the 2004 lockout, the NHL featured an ever-increasing disparity between franchises in terms of revenue and spending power. This led many to yearn for a hard salary cap, while others proposed milder solutions like a luxury tax or increased revenue sharing, but virtually everyone agreed that it was a problem. And this was especially true when it came to free agency, as small-market teams found it difficult to hold on to star players who knew that a big-market payday was looming on the horizon.
The NHL's higher-ups, to its credit, took action. They couldn't solve the problem -- that was what the coming lockout would be for -- but they could do the next best thing and even the playing field.