Nope, you're not missing anything. Evidently, the Canon Speedlite flashes have some current flowing through the hotshoe after it's been fired. Other flashes that work fine with optical triggering units do, too, but the current flowing through those is not as high as that of the Speedlites. The characteristic of an SCR (Silicon Controlled Rectifier, which is the component in the trigger unit that basically acts as an electronic switch turned on optically) is that once it is triggered, it will stay turned on for as long as the minimum holding current required to keep the SCR turned on is flowing through it. So, the net effect of the higher current flowing through the Speedlite hotshoe is that the SCR does not turn off. If it doesn't turn off, then you can't trigger it again to fire the flash until you disconnect and then reconnect the flash or turn off the flash and then turn it back on again.
I just spent an hour and half this afternoon with my Speedlite connected to my home made optical trigger with a digital multimeter connected across the sync wire and ground (to mearure voltage) and an analog VOM connected in series with the sync wire (to measure the current through the sync wire). That's how I came up with the above observation.