Archive for November, 2010

Columbus Blue Jackets Unveil 3rd Jersey

Posted in Pro Stock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2010 by prostocknation

The Columbus Blue Jackets unveiled their brand new 3rd jerseys a few days ago.  As a jersey collector I have always been impressed with the designs of the Blue Jackets’ uniforms and I am really liking the new styling.  I like to see third jerseys standing out from the regular home and away jerseys and Columbus has done so by removing all traces of red, adding the tie downs at the front and utilizing a new logo.

Something that we didn’t like about the Vancouver Canucks’ 3rd jerseys was they simply looked like their home uniform with a tweaked logo on the front.  The stripes were also a bit different but to this day the casual fans are still confused as to which jersey is which.  It would be nice to have a third jersey mean more than just for the sake of having a third jersey.

Since the red has been removed from this color scheme, the Blue Jackets will be wearing Blue pants with a single vertical white stripe on the sides to match these beauties.

Sad to say, it doesn’t look like the Jackets have the same design team for jerseys and mascots because regardless of whatever uniforms you throw on them they still look outrageously horrible.  Who do you guys think is the worst looking of the two mascots?  Stinger or Boomer?

 

 

Photos screen captured from the Columbus Blue Jackets Website (http://bluejackets.nhl.com)

– M

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Review: Easton EQ50 Stick

Posted in Equipment Reviews, Pro Returns, Pro Stock with tags , , , , , , on November 19, 2010 by prostocknation

Easton’s newest offering continues where the SE16 left off so expect lots of similarities between the two models.  You’ll notice cosmetically Easton has exposed the carbon fibre instead of covering it with paint like on the SE16.  We really do like the look of it and it does make it look even higher end.

The EQ50 utilizes Focus Weight Technology, just like the SE16, in which 20g of weights are placed in the heel of the blade to achieve a perfect balance.  The difference being Easton has made a window on the EQ50 to show off the weights.

Our stick didn’t come with the plastic butt end unfortunately but players can customize the balance of their stick by adding or removing small disc shaped weights, weighing 5g a piece, into this plastic cap.  There are also markings on the stick that tell you how many of these weights to put in to achieve a perfect balance.

We were skeptical of the durability of this window but based on our field testing and from talking to other owners, it’s holding up just fine.


We’re finding with this stick as well as a few other recent models from Easton isn’t the greatest when it comes to paint chipping and the clear coat peels.  Aesthetics aside, these sticks are still very well balanced and have that signature Easton feel to them.

Would we recommend the EQ50?  Well, yes and no.  It’s a very high end performance stick but it’s essentially the same as the SE16 with a few cosmetic changes and a different butt end.  Honestly 20g won’t make much of a difference when you’re holding a stick.  The amount of tape you use on your stick may also throw off this so-called “perfect balance.”

This stick really surprised us because we didn’t expect this kind of gimmick from Easton.  Well, at least they didn’t add speed holes into it like another manufacturer…

With the release of the EQ50, prices on the SE16 sticks have dropped.  If you can find a SE16 in your preferred pattern and flex, we reckon that’s the better buy.

– M

Third Time’s The Charm Right?

Posted in Equipment Reviews, Pro Stock with tags , , , , , , , on November 16, 2010 by prostocknation

Customization plays a large part in professional equipment and under all the skates, gloves and sticks, jerseys usually get overlooked.  At first glance this looks like just your average size 58 Reebok Edge 2.0 (see our post comparing Edge 1.0 and 2.0 if you are unfamiliar with the two: https://prostocknation.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/pro-stock-jerseys-edge-vs-edge-2-0/).

One feature that all Authentic On-Ice jerseys have is the fight strap.  This is meant to tie the jersey down to the back of the pants in the event the jersey comes off during an altercation so the officials will have something to grab onto.

It’s not the first we’ve seen but some players who have been known to drop the gloves quite often have an additional fight strap on the front of the jersey to prevent it from being pulled over their head during a fight.

What’s really unique about this jersey is there are two fight straps on the back of the jersey, bringing the total to three on this jersey.  We really don’t know where the strap at shoulder height, right under the name bar, would attach to unless Hordichuk were to alter his shoulder pads as well.

– M

Big Toe Hooks

Posted in Pro Returns, Pro Stock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by prostocknation

Toe curves aren’t made widely available to the general public because they’re such a special request product. If you wanted a big toe curve you had two options; go custom or buy pro stock. Most manufacturers won’t even consider making a custom stick for you unless you order 6+ sticks at a time.

Other then BASE Hockey (www.MyBaseHockey.com), there’s no companies we know of that offer a custom stick with a toe curve for such a small minimum order (please leave a comment if you do know of another manufacturer who does.)

So let’s just take custom orders out of the equation for the sake of this post and focus on pro stocks (we are Pro Stock Nation after all.)

Hossa, Spezza, Rafalski, and Samsonov are a few of the typical players when it comes to buying a toe curve and since they are so popular, their sticks are becoming harder and harder to come by.

One player who’s really fallen under the radar in recent years is Vancouver Canuck, Peter Schaefer.  He was bought out by the Boston Bruins in 2008/09 and didn’t play hockey for a year but he kept training full time and was invited to the Canucks Training Camp this season.  He ended up making the big club and what’s even better news is that his pro stocks will become easier to get a hold of.

So here’s the Warrior Kronik we got a hold of.  In typical Peter Schaefer fashion the bottom portion of the stick is spray painted black to hide the puck better.

Here’s the curve, it’s flat throughout the heel and mid-blade then it suddenly warps at the toe.  This pattern is terrific for snapshots.

Now we look at the profile of the blade.  It’s pretty pointy at the toe end, not to the same extent as Spezza’s but it doesn’t even look legal to begin with.

We hope that we’ve made you aware of another toe curve to look for the next time you’re searching for a pro stock and the usual suspect’s aren’t available.

 

– M

 

Master Of Disguise

Posted in Pro Stock with tags , , , , , , on November 12, 2010 by prostocknation

Continuing with yesterday’s post about companies repainting sticks to look like other models in their lineup, we wanted to show an example from a different manufacturer so we’re not just singling out Bauer.  Don’t get me wrong, I love both brands’ products but the average consumer should be well informed of what they’re buying when it comes to the secret world of pro stock and pro return sticks.

To the average person this may look like two Easton S19 sticks.  When you’re buying a pro stock that says “S19”, are you REALLY getting what you’re paying for?  Let’s take a closer look.

Easton doesn’t drop hints on the name plates like Bauer so we’ll have to look at the physical shape of the sticks.  The S19 is known for it’s elliptical taper towards the bottom portion of the stick.  Hmmm… one stick is oval-shaped and the other isn’t… what could they possibly be?

Let’s compare these two “S19” sticks to another high end offering from Easton.  The SE16 has no elliptical taper… neither does the “S19” in the middle.  If you look closely you can also see the small indentation where the blade meets the shaft during the manufacturing process.

Here’s a look at the tapers from another angle.

Now that you know what to look for, it’s easy to pick out which is the real S19 and which is a painted SE16.  The next time you’re shopping for a pro stock/return S19 make sure to check for the elliptical taper or else it could be a SE16 or something else in disguise!  Don’t rely on the graphics and labels alone!

Final comments: The SE16 is not a terrible stick by any means, we actually prefer it over the S19 but we don’t want anyone to be disappointed when they realize their stick isn’t what it claims to be.

– M

What You See Isn’t What You Get

Posted in Pro Returns, Pro Stock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2010 by prostocknation

When you’re buying a Pro Stock or a Pro Return stick, you never really know what you’re going to get… unless you’re aware of some clues to look for.  We’ll focus our attention on Bauer sticks because the information provided on the name plates are the easiest to read out of all the manufacturers and they drop hints as to what the stick really is under all that paint.

Looking at the name plates you’re provided with 4 pieces of information:

SEDIN (The player’s name, sometimes on more generic sticks with retail patterns, the pattern name will be here such as “P92” or “PM9”)

2638-4 (The pattern)

102 (Flex)

G3 (Flex profile; How the stick is constructed)

We’re comparing these two Bauer sticks made for the Sedin twins, one has ONE95 graphics and the other has Total ONE, but is it really what it claims to be?  The name plates on both sticks are practically identical (with the exception of the pattern number after the dash on the “Total ONE” as it is a newer batch.)

G3 = “Custom Flex Profile” which means the pro has requested special adjustments made to the stick (ex. different kick points among other things.)  On a real Total ONE, built to retail specs, the stick should read “R26” for the flex profile.

Our tester stick has “TEST-A” as the pattern, which turned out to be a P92, and it’s an 82 flex.  Also take note of the Tac Spiral grip (the angled raised ridges on the corners) of the stick, these may or may not appear on a Pro Stock/Return depending on what the player has ordered.  I’m not a huge fan of any sort of Tactile Grip but we’ll save that discussion for our review.

Other than deciphering the name plates, the carbon weaves on the shaft will help identify what stick you’re actually getting.  Notice how the the weaves on both sticks are identical?  If you haven’t already guessed, both of these sticks are ONE95s, but one has a Total ONE paint job.

Take a look at a real Total ONE and see how much fatter the weaves are.  They’re almost as big as the width of the shaft, just like the Vapor X:60!


So why do players and manufacturers do this?

Players are very superstitious about their equipment, (see: Martin St. Louis), and they like to stick with what works.  From a manufacturer’s point of view, they don’t want the top players to be using outdated equipment.  They want these players to use the latest and greatest in order to help them push their new products.

There’s a pretty good thread on ModSquadHockey.com regarding Pro Stock Bauer Codes if you have any further questions or if you’re looking for help in reading about your stick: http://www.modsquadhockey.com/forums/Index.php?/topic/52411-pro-stock-bauer-codes/

We’ll bring you more examples from different manufacturers in the coming days because we don’t want to single out Bauer and make it seem like they are the only ones conducting this practice.

– M

RapidShot: Revisited

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 8, 2010 by prostocknation

The next time your team scrimmages and you’re short one goaltender, strap on a shooter tutor at the other end instead of shooting at an empty net.  I’ll explain later.

We were down at Rogers Arena for the Canucks/Red Wings game and I just couldn’t resist another showdown with the RapidShot.  For those unfamiliar with the RapidShot, please check out our post on it a little while back: https://prostocknation.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/rapidshot-hockey-training-system-rogers-arena-vancouver-bc-canada/

Professional players getting paid millions of dollars to play the game are getting scores of around 300; I’m not making as much as they are so I’m not expecting the same results either.  I shot a disappointing 49.1 at our first session.  My goal for this second time around was to improve on my original score.

I remember often times back in minor hockey we’d shoot on an empty net at one end during scrimmages because we didn’t have a second goaltender.  Of course it wouldn’t be fair if one team could score on an unmanned net so you were told to hit the posts or crossbar.  Ever since that day, shooting at an empty net didn’t feel right unless you heard the ‘ping’ of the iron.

This doesn’t translate well to the world of the RapidShot because if you hit the posts you get a score of zero.  About 4-5 shots of mine rang off the iron and it reflected in my score.  You also get a zero if you hit the white areas on the net.  8/16 (50%) of my shots were zeroes so the next time around I’m going to try to get 80% or more of my shots on target to pull my average up.

It’s also interesting to see where I was the most accurate, the corners I never like shooting at.

November 6, 2010 - Rogers Arena RapidShot

(Click to enlarge image)

The upper-right corner, glove side on most goalies, is the go-to spot for most players to snipe but my mindset was still stuck in scrimmage mode and I was getting nothing but iron.  What even surprised me more was my hit percentage was the highest for the bottom right.  Going bottom glove side would probably be my least favorite corner to aim for but judging from these results I should shoot in that area more often.

If I were to hit the targets consistently I think I would be able to get in around the 140-150 point range.  We’ll see next time, shooting pucks in this contraption is way too addictive and if I’m not too careful I’ll be declaring bankruptcy pretty soon.  I’ve been shooting pucks in the backyard all summer long but there’s just something about the RapidShot that makes you want to keep shooting.

 

– M