Easton Hockey: Invention vs. Improvement, Part 2
By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing
After learning about and using the Mako skates during our demo day, our attention turned to the Mako II stick and more specifically, the idea behind the E28 curve. Easton brought on former NHLer and Olympian Scott Bjugstad and he looked at the way the top shooters were shooting and then he designed a stick for them where the energy loads in the shaft AND in the blade. It is designed for you to shoot off of the two, contrary to what many of us were taught coming up through the hockey ranks. The E28 is designed with a dual lie, one lie from the heel to the midpoint, creating an area to touch the ice when catching passes and handling the puck. The second lie goes out from the midpoint to the toe, with this area designed to be flat on the ice during shots.
Shooting off of the toe has two major benefits. The first is power based off of the puck position. Think of a diving board - the closer to the end you hit to jump, the higher it sends you flying. Shooting a puck works in a similar vein. The second benefit is control. The less the puck moves on the blade as you shoot, the more accurate it is, the more powerful it is and the puck is more likely going to do what you intend and expect it to. Shooting by rolling the puck from your heel is giving away control as you shoot, as well as being a much slower release.
Another great benefit of this curve and stick is that is helps young players learn to shoot. How? The first time any little player has someone on their team able to lift the puck up, they want to do it too, no matter what. This leads to them picking up bad habits just so they can lift the puck, even if it means they are flipping it not actually shooting. With this E28 pattern, if a young player tries that, what will happen is that the puck is pretty much going nowhere, forcing them to shoot the correct way and it improves their shot in general.
A lot of worry with this technique is this: will a blade hold up with this kind of stress on it? Easton designed the stick with this shooting style in mind. Instead of continuing to design the blade from the heel out, they built it from the toe back in. This keeps the toe and the blade in general from softening and it increases the sticks consistency over its life. Time will tell on that part.
Overall, Easton hockey is doing some incredibly innovative stuff, I highly recommend getting out and seeing both the Mako Skates and the Mako II Stick and see for yourself.
Game Time Review: Easton Mako Hockey Stick
So the Easton Mako stick officially comes out this Saturday, April 7th, but I got to use it a little bit early to review it. See all I do for you guys!!?? Okay, perhaps, just maybe, a little bit for myself, too. Ahem. Those of you who are excited about its release, you should be!! Hell, people who have never played hockey should be excited about this stick. Easton has done it again.
You can order the Mako right here.
Game Time Review: Easton Stealth RS Stick
By Kyle Stevenson, Marketing
After a couple months and finally having a chance to use it on a consistent basis, I have my decision on the Easton Stealth RS stick: unbelievable!
I have used the Stealth line since Easton came out with the elliptical taper on the S-17's. The last five years I have almost exclusively used two stick lines, Easton Stealth (S-17, S-19, RS) and Warrior Dolomites. This review is going to be a little bit about using the newest Stealth released back in the fall, the RS.
When I used the S-17, I picked it up and loved it. The S-19 - same thing - one shot and I was in heaven. The RS however, I almost considered putting away after the first skate, where I used it in warm-ups and then benched it. It rode the pine in favor of the Dolomite for the game, but at the end I decided to give it another try and I ended up loving it. It just took a little more time to get used to than its predecessors.
The model I use is the RS Hall Curve (think Sakic, P92, Draper) 85 Flex, non-grip. Upon taking the first shot, I immediately noticed two things, it has a much different kick-point than I expected (based on using the other two) and it's a very whippy stick. Leaning into shots, it felt much softer than an 85 Flex, and the stick was noticeably flexing forward on my release and follow-through. As I figured out how the stick was going to react, I couldn’t believe how smooth the puck was coming off the blade. Without exaggeration, snapshots felt like they were coming off as smooth as a saucer pass, just rolling off the blade. On top of the great feel, I was putting the puck where I wanted. A symphony of pipes in warm-ups.
There is nothing like the release on this stick, I haven’t ever used anything that came close. Just lightning fast. I lean into a snapshot and its gone. It creates and incredible advantage if you find yourself with an open shot and only need to beat the 'tendy. As soon as you see the goalie shuffle across and it flashes in your mind “shoot now” before he sets, its gone. You can go from thinking shoot to release so quick that it’s mind-blowing. The advantage of being able to release so quick is so important in today’s game - goalies are big, but still quick - so being able to place it where you want when you need to is crucial, and the RS allows you to do it.
The most noticeable improvement I see from the S-19 is the feel of the blade. Again, when I first touched the puck with it I thought it had absolutely zero feel and it felt like a hard blade. As I got used to it, I liked the feel a lot more. I realized it didn’t feel like no feel, it was just a much different feel. Playing with it now, I can really feel the puck a lot more so than I did with the S-19. A month later now, I can tell you I think that great feel comes at a cost, the heel and toe of this stick have worn out a little and chipped and splintered quicker than most sticks I have used. I can’t say for certain why, but the RS blade does not seem to have great durability.
On the other side of the durability discussion, I think the RS shaft feels a lot sturdier than the previous Stealths. The problem I have with the shaft is the grip. As I mentioned I use the non-grip, and as sweet as that matte black looks, I think it makes the stick a bit slicker. I haven’t used one, but I have held the grip version and I can instantly tell you it is way to sticky for me. I’m particular, and need a bit of grip without going overboard; the RS doesn’t really have that option. Its none or too much in my eyes. With the non-grip, I felt I needed more shaft tape than I would normally put on. I found myself looking for something in between the clear and grip shafts.
Overall the Easton RS is an amazing twig. Easton never ceases to astonish me with their innovations. Since the S17 came out, I have found that here is nothing like the first snapshot with a newly released Stealth model.
Easton Stealth 65S Hockey Stick
In a week or two (or whenever we get them from Easton), we will be seeing the release of the Easton Stealth 65S hockey stick from the fine folks over at Easton Hockey. As you can see in the picture below, the look of the stick clearly shows that Easton is continuing to break the mold on stick design - it resembles the beautiful Stealth RS with its sleek red/black/grey design and matte finish (grip available as well). Other vendors like Bauer and Reebok have recently released sticks that are starting to look more and more like Warrior sticks - Easton went the other way with this simplified beauty. I remember reading somewhere one time about making spaghetti sauce - sometimes you don't need to add 42 spices if you just have the right tomatoes. Easton has taken this approach - simple design, let the performance do the talking. We like that.
Anyway, the new Stealth 65S is being marketed as a "shooter’s stick.” What may be more interesting to you is the price point - this puppy clocks in at just $99.99! Easton has told us that what they did was go directly to rinks to develop this one. They spoke to hundreds and hundreds of youth hockey and high school players and asked them what was most important in a stick and the answer they received heavily influenced the development of the 65S - a stick to enhance shooting that costs less than $100. The 65S is comprised of carbon and kevlar material and will have an ultra thin taper profile - remember, this is a shooter's stick!
We will carry the the 65S hockey stick in senior ($99.99), intermediate ($99.99) and junior sizes ($89.99) and Easton is only releasing the senior stick in 85 and 100 flexes. For patterns, we will carry the Iginla, Hall, and Cammalleri curves.
With the 65S, Easton is clearly zeroing in on the players who still play competitively and take their sticks seriously, but just won't pay the expensive price for the top-of-the-line stick. We got to examine and hold the 65S at a meeting with Easton a while back and yes, this is a heavier stick than the RS, but the overall feel of the stick placed it far and above other sticks in this price range. While we obviously have not been able to test drive one yet, this stick appears to be a keeper.
Easton RS Hockey Stick
By Jeff Copetas - VP of Marketing & E-Commerce
The super-kind folks over at Easton Hockey were nice enough to send me an "advance release" of their upcoming Stealth RS hockey stick. I sure am glad they did that. As you know, the buzz on this stick has been near-deafening among the discussion boards, Facebook, Twitter, etc etc and for good reason - the stick simply looks awesome. It is without question, hockey ART. The nearly all-black shaft with slight yellow touches is beautiful. While it's nice to have a sweet-looking hockey stick in your hands, it's obviously not the be-all-end-all. The most important part is how it performs. Read on.
I was originally an Easton stick guy. Loved those Synergies back in the mid-2000's, but for some reason, the train fell off the tracks for me and I couldn't find the right Easton stick, which led me on a multiple year journey through all the different options - I tried Bauer sticks, Reebok, Warrior. All of them had their positives, don't get me wrong, but I could never find the perfect stick, for whatever reason. I finally ended up in a Reebok 10K a couple of years back and thought it to be the best composite I'd used, with the sole exception being the faster-than-expected degradation of the blade core with the 10K line. When the 11K came, I was excited to see that Reebok had improved the blade quite nicely - and I highly recommend that stick today.
With all that said, when the RS landed in my office two weeks ago, I was, as you might imagine, very anxious to get out on the ice and see if the sleek look matched up to the actual performance.
The S19 almost got me back into Easton, but accuracy was an issue for me with those. Yeah, it could be the player. Heh. But I did honestly feel like I could put the puck where I wanted to with the 11K, where I could only put the puck pretty close to where I wanted to with the S19. When Easton set out on their expedition from the S19 to the new RS, they said their focus became more on the flex and optimizing how the stick as a whole would feel in a player's hand.
Bottom line - everything just feels more seamless with this stick. What's funny is that a few other people I know have said the exact same thing I've been thinking - POP. For some reason, and I have no idea why to be honest, when I shoot the puck with this stick, it feels like I have acquired some magical power - and the puck goes exactly where I want it to go. It's.....eerie....and not something I've felt in a stick in a long, long time. I am typically not a slap shot/boomer guy, so I'm not well-qualified to talk about the benefits if you are that type of player, but I can tell you that on snaps and wristers, the early verdict is that this is an overwhelmingly terrific twig.
The nuts and bolts - there are some new materials in the RS that make it lighter than previous Stealths. Of course, durability cannot be talked about here yet - it's only been two weeks, so the long-term effects of making the stick lighter are yet to be determined - time will tell. The shaft dimensions are slightly different than the S19 and, according to Easton, are based on NHL players feedback and usage history - so expect straight sidewalls and rounded corners. The elliptical lower-portion of the shaft, a la the S19, remains intact as does the multi-core blade design.
Now I really need to see and use the APX and the Ai-Nine to see how those compare - reviews will come shortly on both.
The Easton Stealth RS stick comes out October 1st, but you can pre-order yours now right here.
Easton Stealth RS Pro Stock?
By Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce
I was wandering through the Boston Bruins Pro Shop during the Conference Finals back in late May and I came across the stick rack where the team sometimes puts practice or game-used sticks from their players. Normally, the sticks in the rack aren't completely my thing, due to curves or brand or whatnot, but when I came across the Easton RS with David Krejci's name on it, that certainly piqued my interest.
The buzz around the RS has been going full tilt since about last March when Easton planted one with Mike Camellari. The discussion boards, blogs and social media on the stick have been full tilt with RS talk - and for good reason. It's a really good looking stick. But lots of people have trophy wives and bondo cars - is it for real? Since the retail version doesn't come out until October 12, we can talk about it until the cows come home. Until then, all we can do is speculate.
Anyway, I've used the Krejci RS about 10 times since I got the stick and I can tell you this much - it has serious pop off the stick and for me, tremendous accuracy. I'm not really a slapshot guy, but I can tell you that my wristers and snapshots are most certainly better than what I was getting with my Reebok 11K and much better than I ever got using an S19 - both of which I do like very much.
A lot of people out on the discussion boards & blogs keep saying - some insisting - that all the RS Pro Stocks out there are simply re-painted S19's. The one I have is definitely not an S19. The shaft feels a little thicker, for one thing and it's definitely thicker towards the bottom. It just feels different overall. The curve I have appears to be very similar to my 11K Datsyuk pattern. Sidenote: my goalie-deking skills have not gotten better since I started using the Datsyuk pattern. Oh, how I wish.
Flex-wise, it also appears to be quite similar to my retail 11K, which is an 85 flex. There may be a hint of slightly additional stiffness in the "RS" I have, but it's hard to really say.
Anyway, I freaking love this thing. Is it the retail version? Probably not. I held a retail version during a product session with Easton about a month ago and the retail one I had felt a little more bottom-heavy than this one. So what IS it, then? Who knows! That's the thing with these Pro Stock sticks.....just an early version? Something re-painted? Who knows. But it's fun to play with. Video here:
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