Archive for December, 2012

CCM RBZ Hockey Stick Review

Posted in Equipment Reviews with tags , , , , , on December 25, 2012 by prostocknation

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CCM, in partnership with Taylormade Golf, have developed their newest top of the line stick, the RBZ.

Typically sticks will be either mid-kick (load up for harder slap shots) or low-kick (quicker release.)  The CCM RBZ is more of a hybrid between the two and will flex a few inches below your bottom hand.

The RBZ also features “Speed Channels” in the blade.  These Speed Channels are hollow cavities compared to other One Piece Composite sticks on the market that have a foam core.  More on this later.

The lower third of the stick is white in color.  Players in the past had the idea of spray painting their sticks black and using black tape in order to hide the puck better.  Upon interviewing a few goalies they actually found it more difficult to see shots from a white stick with white tape on the ice surface.  The majority of these goalies said they reacted more on the swing of the stick rather than tracking the puck itself.

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So after using the RBZ for several weeks, here’s my verdict.

Aesthetics alone, it’s a beautiful looking stick.

Compared with the competition, the key difference is the absence of foam inside the blade.  Blades with a foam core have greater puck feel but will start feeling soft once the foam starts breaking down.  On the contrary, blades with no foam will feel rigid for longer but at the cost of puck feel.

This blade construction makes the RBZ a pure shooter’s stick.  The puck pops off the blade effortlessly and I do feel like I am shooting with more velocity.  However while passing and stick handling, there is absolutely no puck feel at all and there is lots of ping and vibrations.  While “Strap a Rocket to the Puck” may be CCM’s marketing slogan for the RBZ, in reality it feels like Rocks are strapped to this stick.   I’ll explain.  Take any stick and stick handle a couple of pebbles around.  That’s exactly how the RBZ feels.

What’s even more puzzling is CCM has no plans to release a NON-grip version of this stick.  When I am spending top dollar on a stick I expect to have as many options available to me.  I prefer a stick without grip because I rotate through gloves with fresh palms quite often.  When we asked the local CCM rep about why the RBZ only comes in Grip, his answer was simply, “it sells better”.  This may be acceptable for lower price point sticks but I find it unreasonable that all the other competitors can offer their top end sticks in a grip and non-grip model while CCM does not give the consumer this choice.

The shaft shape is rounder than some of the more boxy sticks like the Easton Stealth and Bauer Supreme lines so it’s quite comfortable to hold for players with smaller hands.

Durability-wise the RBZ’s blade has been very impressive and there have been very few reports from other users that deviate from this.

Overall the stick is very well balanced despite me cutting off quite a few inches.  It feels like a quality stick in your hands.

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Final verdict:

Pros:
– Shoots extremely well
– Durable
– Well balanced
– Great looking graphics

Cons:
– Grip only (all other manufacturer’s top end sticks give you the option of grip/non-grip)
– Blade is very pingy and lacks puck feel

The RBZ shoots well but that’s about it.  It is a significant improvement over the U+ CL (the two sticks we tested had major durability issues) but I don’t see myself purchasing this stick again compared to the Bauer Supreme sticks I’ve been using that have a great pop to them as well.  The absence of a non-grip version really deters me from wanting to use this stick more often. I thought the RBZ was a good but not a great stick, it was a bit disappointing especially at this price point.

Tested Specs:
– SR, Nugent-Hopkins (C93), RH, 75 Flex
– M, 5′ 9″, 150 lbs

 

– M

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Sports Experts – Centre Commercial Rockland, Mont Royal, Quebec

Posted in Equipment Sales, Pro Returns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2012 by prostocknation

Sports Experts is the largest sporting goods retailer in Quebec.  They are known as a big box store that carries closeout merchandise.  With Sports Experts being grouped under the FGL Sports Ltd. umbrella (Sportchek, Sport Mart, etc.), Pro Stock hockey gloves were one of the last things I expected to find at their Centre Commercial Rockland location in Mont Royal, Quebec.

Hamrlik Habs 10K, Kubina Thrashers Leather 4-Rolls, Antropov All Star Game 10K:

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Reebok 9000 Pros in various colors:

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Chris Campoli Ottawa Senators Reebok 9000 Pros

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Colton Orr Toronto Maple Leafs Reebok 9000 Pros (note the digital overlay!)

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Sports Experts also had some Retail Edge 1.0 Habs jerseys in both colorways going for half price (around $150 or so.)

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Sports Experts was a nice surprise.  They weren’t on my list of places to visit while I was in Quebec but the next time I am back east I will definitely drop by a few more of their stores to see what unique gear is available.

– M