Archive for Hockey Stick

CCM RBZ Hockey Stick Review

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

PSNRBZ1
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.

PSNRBZ2

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.

PSNRBZ3

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

Advertisements

Moves Like Jagr

Posted in Gear Sightings with tags , , , , , , , on May 6, 2012 by prostocknation

What does Jaromir Jagr do to get his sticks ready for games?  CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada ran a segment on how Jags incorporates superstition and religion into his prep during a Flyers/Devils playoff game.

What do you write on your sticks?

– M

Long Term Review: Winnwell GX-8 Hockey Stick

Posted in Equipment Reviews with tags , , , on November 18, 2011 by prostocknation

It has been a little while since our last gear review but rest assured we have not forgotten about them.  4 months ago we were introduced to the Winnwell GX-8 one piece composite hockey stick.  The specifications of this stick were very impressive; it’s made of 100% graphite and it weighs less than 500 grams…all for under $100.  Here is our original post with our initial thoughts: (https://prostocknation.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/what-is-100-graphite-sub-500-grams-under-100/)

After using this stick over the past 4 months I have a pretty good sense in how it performs and holds up over time.

Weight:  The GX-8 is very light.  Other manufacturers offer sticks at the same price point but they are much heavier due to use of inferior materials like glass and fibreglass.

The balance of a stick has always been a higher priority for me as most people will not notice an extra couple of grams in weight, but they will be bothered if the stick is blade heavy.

Performance:  Pucks pop off the blade quickly and the puck feel is very good.  I would compare the performance to sticks I’ve used in the $175-$200 category.

Durability:  The stick has held up very well and the blade has remained stiff.  The only issue we have experienced is a small split in the carbon fibre on one of the corners towards the bottom 1/3 of the shaft.  We contacted Winnwell regarding this issue and they assured us it was only cosmetic and not structural as the split was very shallow.

Price:  At $99 it outperforms pretty much anything close to this price point.  It is advertised as one of the biggest bang for the buck sticks and it does live up to it’s name.  Not to mention it also comes with a 30 day warranty.

Personal Preferences:  I prefer to use sticks without grip coatings of any kind, whether it be textured or not.  The GX-8 is clear (it has no grip) and that is exactly how I like it.  The shaft profile is a bit boxy compared what I normally use but it doesn’t affect my game too much.

Final Thoughts:  Players on a budget would often ask me what stick they should buy.  In the past I would always recommend buying a top end wood stick over any low end composite because it would perform better.  Things have changed and the Winnwell GX-8 has been at the top of my recommendations list in recent months.

We will periodically check in on the status of this stick.

Winnwell Hockey:

Website: http://www.winnwellcleanhockey.ca/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Winnwell-Hockey/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/winnwellhockey

– M

What Is 100% Graphite, Sub-500 Grams & Under $100?

Posted in Equipment Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2011 by prostocknation

Today practically every company in the industry offers a composite stick at the $99 price point catering to the recreational level player.  These sticks usually contain little to no traces of graphite and lots of lower end materials.  While it is easy to name manufacturers who sell $99 sticks, try looking for one that is 100% graphite and the list shortens considerably.  Out of those remaining sticks, filter out the ones that weigh less than 500 grams.  There are not many options are there?

This is the Winnwell GX-8 and if you haven’t already guessed; it is 100% graphite, weighs 490g, and costs $99.

This stick is listed at 490g but we decided to throw it on our scale “naked” (without any tape and uncut from the factory length) as Winnwell’s website lists it at 480g.  Our kitchen scale confirms the stick weighs 479g.  There are several factors that could affect the weight of the stick such as blade pattern, grip/no grip, etc. but what we are interested in here is it is indeed under 500g.

We have not used this stick long enough yet to give it a fair test so we will leave any long-term reviews for a later date.  So what are our initial thoughts?

Well, as soon as we picked up the stick it felt nice.  It did not feel like a $99 one piece stick at all.  Normally sticks at this price point feel like bricks and tend to be blade heavy.  While the GX-8 is not the lightest stick in the world it does offer good balance thanks to Winnwell’s precise weight distribution (or Optimum Pro Balance Technology as they call it.)  During a game it will be very difficult for someone to notice a difference in weight when you start talking in grams.  Even though it may be slightly heavier, a well balanced stick will feel and perform much better when you are using it.

After playing with it during my first ice time the blade is very rigid and pucks do ‘pop’ off nicely.  Check out the 12k graphite weaves on the tapered shaft.  I really like it when companies show off what their sticks are made of and not try and hide what is underneath with a cheap paint job.

This stick has been a great surprise so far and looks to be a great ‘bang for the buck’ stick.  I would recommend this stick to both advanced and recreational players.  The only thing I would change is the shaft radius.  It is a personal preference but I do have smaller hands and the shaft is a bit boxier than what I normally use.

Aesthetically the graphics are simple and that is how I prefer my equipment.  Some of my photos may look like they are in black in white but in reality that really is what the stick looks like against the pavement.

I will check back in with this stick in a couple weeks.  In the meantime if you would like to find out more information about Winnwell Hockey or the GX-8 stick, check them out on their website at www.WinnwellCleanHockey.ca

– M

Alex Burrows – Warrior Widow LE

Posted in Gear Sightings with tags , , , , on June 3, 2011 by prostocknation

I went to Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final yesterday and I decided to snap a couple pictures during the warmup.  Burrows has been using the Widow with the blue LE graphics for quite some time in the post-season now but here’s two shots of it.

It’s the same Widow you see in stores right now but they will be coming out with this color in Q4 of 2011.

 

– M

Easton Stealth RS

Posted in Gear Sightings, Leaks with tags , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2011 by prostocknation

We’ve been getting lots of questions regarding this stick so after staring at the press release photos for the longest time we decided to get our own.  We do think this is a S19 repaint because structurally, they match up side by side identically.

The RS paint job on the front actually looks ‘stealthy’ like the original Easton Stealth before it tailed off and started getting glammed up with metallic silver logos all over it.

We’ll have to wait until more official specs are released by Easton to find out what structural or build changes have been made compared to the S19.

Comes out Q4 of 2011…

– M

Easton Stealth RS Hockey Stick

Posted in Pro Stock with tags , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2011 by prostocknation

They started popping up in player’s hands such as Mike Cammalleri and Dany Heatley about 2 weeks ago and I must admit it’s one of Easton’s better looking sticks as of late.  Keeping true to the previous generations of the Stealth line, the stick is predominately black with a hint of color in it.

Also if you haven’t heard, Easton has a new logo replacing the “E” with the oval and diamond.  Check it out on the blade, what do you think?  We don’t normally like drastic changes so this may take some time to grow on us.

While no full specs on the stick have been released yet, it does look like the stick will keep the elliptical taper as seen on the S17/19 with an improvement in the blade construction.  We have been very impressed with Easton’s offerings as of late throughout their entire product lineup and after seeing all the improvements in the S19 over it’s predecessor, we’re quite certain the RS won’t disappoint.

You should start seeing this stick in stores in Q4 of 2011.

Pictures were retrieved from Easton Hockey’s Official Facebook Page

 

– M