Easton Mako 2 Hockey Stick
By Tyler Roy, Pure Hockey Customer Service
I had a package come in a month or so ago and just like always, I made a huge mess ripping the box open from pure excitement. Come to think of it, I never actually cleaned that up. Not unusual! Anyway, inside the package was the brand new Easton Mako 2 hockey stick. The new Mako has an updated look that will catch your eye - hate it or love it, you will notice it on the shelf. Easton is keeping the shaft primarily white again with the intention to hide the flex from the goalie. The back, though, is a different story. Easton went with a very loud orange with white text around the taper section. I have had mixed opinions from everybody about this part - I like the look personally, but as with everything else, to each their own! I think the best part of the new look is the black colored blade. I had problems with the all white blade on the first version having no line of sight, but this black blade really makes it easy to know where the puck is.
The updated look is not the only aspect of the Mako 2, though. The stuff you should really care about is getting the most bang from your buck with durability and the Mako 2 shaft and blade have both been upgraded for performance and durability. The shaft internals have been changed and now use a uni-directional carbon, which means that the fibers of the composite weave tighter and smoother, creating a more responsive stick with improved durability to impacts and slashes. The Mako 2 has felt brand new every time I've used it and hopefully it stays that way (that could be a pipe dream, but a kid can dream, right?).
Anyway, this new uni-carbon will lighten the stick by 20 grams and obviously this will lighten up the overall weight, but also help out the balance point. The shaft will also have a few grip updates - it will be a bit tackier and both the matte and grip will have a new textured grip on all four sides of the shaft. This is the best Easton shaft that I have ever used in terms of feel - the grip is perfect and the weight is very light. I'm still getting accustomed to the way the stick shoots and plays but I'm quite happy so far. Blocked a few shots and have had some hacks but the Mako 2 is still holding very strong. So far so good.
On to the blade, I already spoke above about the black blade giving the shooter a better line of sight but that's not all. The Mako 2 will also have a more responsive, durable and better performing blade. Easton has re-worked the micro bladder, giving you better feel but a larger sweet spot for shooting. This harder shot has to hit the net right? Easton also improved the stiffness so all your shots should be true to the target. The blade still has the pro style sandpaper grip that holds the tape well.
So combine a new look, an improved and lighter shaft and a stiffer and easier-to-use blade and you get a very solid and high performing stick. Comments on the look have been mixed but I feel this stick is worth giving a go. I still see myself as a Stealth guy but I would recommend you check this stick out, it may surprise you.
Kyle Stevenson and I sat down and talked about the new Mako 2 and how it compared to the first Mako. See that video right here:
NHL PLayer Interview: Hal Gill
By Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce
Joining us the second time for an interview on our blog is the Nashville Predators defensamen Hal Gill, now an NHL veteran of five teams and 10+ years in the league. We talk with Hal about playing in Nashville vs. the more pressure packed cities he's played in, what he might do after his hockey career is over and what series/games he'd like to have back. This interview was conducted on Saturday, one day before the lockout ended. Here we go.....
I guess I get some rest. Maybe I can add another season to my career. Really not much good comes from any of this CBA foolishness.
You've now run the gamut of pressure cookers, or lack thereof. Not belittling Nashville in any way, but playing in Boston, Toronto and Montreal - and then playing in Nashville - that has got to be completely different experience. Does the scrutiny or attention you get as a player in Montreal, for example, help your game and do you wonder and/or worry about how you may respond to just PLAYING without all the other stuff buzzing around?
The best feeling is making a difference in a win. If I have a nice bruise from a blocked shot that won a game, then that's like a goal for me. I guess it's a badge of honor.
Thank you but I think when you get "needled" to go out and play, it's something that most players have done just the same, so it isn't that big of a deal. What is a big deal is the way you play. When you can elevate your game while injured, then that is remarkable.
Not really. I still havent gotten over my Hab days where they (Boston) beat us in 7. I'd give anything to get that one back.
Haha, that all sounds good! I would love to get involved in coaching on some level and I will always support breweries - maybe not start one though!
Big thanks to Hal Gill for the time - and we are glad we were able to catch him before camp started.
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By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing
Have you ever found yourself in this situation: backyard rink and lucky enough to have a goalie - but only a few shooters? Not enough for a full tilt, so what do you do? Well, a couple buddies and myself had the same problem and took some inspiration from a sport I’m not generally a big fan of, basketball. With 3 skaters, a goalie and a small rink, we decided to make up a hockey version of 21.
It’s amazing how creative guys can get on the ice out of sheer boredom. So if you need something to do during the lockout, here’s a couple I’ve seen and a few of the rules. Have fun!
This one is best played with a goalie, three shooters and a relatively narrow rink. It’s a smaller, differently scored version of the rebound game most guys have played at the end of practice.
- Just like the basketball version, one player starts the game with the puck in the slot, 15-20 feet out.
- The other two skaters stand by the top of the crease. Since you’re likely not wearing padding, stand towards the posts with your sticks in front. We’re not responsible for you getting whacked, man!
- Shooter up top shoots and everyone plays for a rebound until there’s a goal, the puck gets covered or goes out of play.
Goal from the top gets 1 point
Goal from a rebound gets 2 points
Rebound that goes 5-Hole gets 3 points
- The player who scores a goal then goes up top to begin the next play
- A 5-hole rebound goal is 3 points for the scorer; it also sends the last player to touch the puck back to 0 (or back to 11 if their score was 11 or higher already).
- If you score three in a row from the slot on the original shot (not the rebound), you get a breakaway on the goalie that would be worth 2 points if you score. If you don’t score on the breakaway, play the rebound as usual.
- You have to hit 21 on the nose to win. So plan accordingly. Any scenario that puts you over 21 (ex. putting in a rebound with 20 already) sends you back to 15. Which you deserve for not being able to add properly.
One Timer Game
This game is great for Stick & Puck when there’s no goalie and guys are tired of playing posts.
You’ll need two nets. Take one net, and lay it down Crossbar out. So the bottom of the posts are lined up, touching, on both nets one in normal position and one lying down.
Everyone lines up, one at a time you skate in, pass the puck off the crossbar, then have to one time it on the way in. Obviously trying to put it into the opening at the top of the upright net.
To win, you need to hit 4 different one-timers: a slapshot, a snapshot, a backhander and between the legs (in no particular order).
Game rotates through each player in order. If you hit a shot, you immediately go again and try for the next shot.
With the net lying down, a lot of the upright goal is covered. Its tougher than it looks!. And you have to be sure to leave yourself space to get the puck up, and line the pass up at a good angle for the different shots. Good luck!
Now here's the fun part, We are going to put up a $50 Pure Hockey Gift card to the best original game submitted to us on the Pure Hockey Facebook Page
We'll pick a winner Friday January 18th. Get creative...
(My brutal attempt at illustrating the net set up)
Fantasy Hockey Draft Advice
By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing
So fantasy drafts are getting underway for this shortened season, and I thought I would throw out some of my humble advice for the upcoming year…
1) Evgeni Malkin- Not much explanation needed here, but last season’s leading scorer. He’s been playing, and playing well in the KHL, w/ 65 points in 37 games for Metallurg, and that’s when he doesn’t have arguably the world’s best playing on his line.
2) Steven Stamkos- Another stud playing the middle. Tends to start off hot right out of the gate with 54 points in the first 48 games of last year. Even with a shortened camp, Stamkos is one of the best-conditioned players in the league, thanks to trainer and former NHLer Gary Roberts, so expect him to be ready to go on day one.
3) Jason Spezza- One of the most criticized players in the NHL, but the guy has skill. With a short camp, there is going to be some sloppy play league-wide, look for guys like Spezza who are masters of creating space for themselves, to ravage teams working the kinks out of their D-Zone systems. Plus he uses the Pure Hockey Custom S19 Pure, and that’s gotta be worth something.
4) Pavel Datsyuk- Datsyuk is his own offensive system, one of the best sets of hands in the league, probably the best vision, and unbelievably creative on the ice. He’s missed some time the past couple seasons, but the shortened season should help some aging veterans like Pavel stay on the ice and stay productive. He is great in leagues that get points for things like FO% and +/-.
Sleeper Center- Patrice Bergeron- Not as much of a secret as a couple years ago, but he’s been putting up numbers, playing alongside the budding superstar Tyler Seguin who continues to improve. Look for both their numbers to rise this season. Another player who can get you numbers in side categories, Bergeron led all centers in +/- last year, and contributed goals on the PP, SH and threw a few GW’s in the back of the net.
Risk/Reward Center- Sidney Crosby- This advice is going to fall on deaf ears in many leagues, but be careful on this one. Concussion issues are going to be an even more drastic influence this season. A bump on the head for Sid could mean a couple weeks out, and with the shortened season, that could be a quarter of the year. He’s worth picking up, but I wouldn’t go higher than a low 2nd/high 3rd rounder.
1) Claude Giroux- Another top pick that needs little explanation. Giroux has proven that he’s the real deal, and proved in last years playoff that he wants to be a leader for Philly. Another guy who went and lit up Europe, even for a short stint (19 Pts. in 9 Games). A high Faceoff % (53.7%), and 6 PP goals last season help his draft stock.
2) Phil Kessel- As a Bruins fan I hate to write this, but I think the Leafs’ sniper is going to come up pretty big this year. The leafs added JVR from Philly, along with the continuing development of Nazem Kadri and a new GM who I believe will want to put his own fingerprint on this team by adding some fire power.
3) Ilya Kovalchuk- The only question mark becomes, how will Kovy perform without Parise in NJ, but in fairness, he put up huge numbers for years on what could have been accurately called the Atlanta Kovalchuk Show. Kovy has been playing for his hometown SKA in the KHL, and has been a more than point per game player over there.
4) Marian Gaborik- Although he’s been known as a bit of a band-aid throughout his career, and is seemingly always fighting injury, he is another guy who stands to benefit from the shortened season. Always a scoring threat, the Rangers have the capability to throw out what could be the most impactful line in the league in a long time with Gabby, Rick Nash and Brad Richards. And he will undoubtedly be a part of what will be a lethal first unit PP in Madison Square Garden.
5) Tyler Seguin- Look for Seguin to continue the leap forward he took last season, and assume a larger roll on the Bruins. Although Claude Julien’s system of rolling 4 lines relatively easily leads to a pretty big spread of the point wealth on the team, Seguin will see an increased roll on the powerplay and in situational play. Look for an increased roll, and increased points.
6) Jordan Eberle- In their first two years in the NHL, Eberle’s star has outshone that of the 2010 First overall pick Taylor Hall. With a sweet set of mitts, and great shot, Eberle has the potential to beat his career high of 76 points from 2011-12. Playing for the Oilers’ AHL affiliate this season, he amassed 51 points in 34 games so expect him to come out of the gates flying.
Sleeper Wing- Ray Whitney- In 2011-12, at age 39, Whitney fell just 6 points shy of his career high total with 77 points. He has moved from Phoenix to Dallas, who has a new, beefed up offense, featuring additions Jagr, and Derek Roy, Whitney should be able to put up some good numbers, especially in a shortened year.
Risk/Reward Wing- Rick Nash- It pained me to type that out, as I’m a huge Nash fan, the guy absolutely has it all, size, grit, hands and a rocket of a shot, but you always need to be a bit weary of a player who has spent his career in the obscurity of Columbus jumping to the media pressure and the bright lights of NY. Look for good numbers, assuming Nash can shut out the potential criticism that comes with having a big contract on the Blue Shirts.
1) Erik Karlsson- This stems from Karlsson flat out running away with the lead for points by a D-man in only his third season in the league. The guy is the real deal. He has improved every season and look for him to continue that trend this year.
2) Zdeno Chara- Z led all D-men in +/- last year playing in Julien’s Defense first system. And that will likely be the case again this year. A great passer, sets up the Bruins transition game, leading to a lot of assists, and the is the power on the backend of the B’s powerplay, where he scored 8 of his 12 goals. In leagues that factor it in, Z is a big body that blocks a ton of shots.
3) Dustin Byfuglien- A big guy, that isn’t afraid to wheel with the puck. Expect Claude Noel to continue to encourage that and send Byfuglien straight to the net. A big key to Byfuglien is staying healthy, he plays hard and throws his body around a lot and that can wear on a big guy.
4) Brian Campbell- If Florida can perform like they did last season and win the Southeast, expect Campbell and the points he puts up to be a big factor. A D-man who can fly and carries the puck, he is a key in jumpstarting the Panthers Offense.
Sleeper Defenseman- Kevin Shattenkirk- Expect Shattenkirk to continue progressing and to see his point totals go up this season. The former BU Terrier will be a great later round pick and add some depth to your D-core.
Risk/Reward Defenseman- Shea Weber- Could be an interesting year for the big D-man, new contract, losing his D partner Ryan Suter to the Wild, he’s still a great D-man on his own, but expect his points and +/- to dip without Suter across the line as more of the Defensive load falls on his shoulders.
1) Jonathan Quick- The former Umass Minteman is fresh off the cup win, and led the league in shutouts last season. Barring a cup hangover, Quick is a safe bet in the crease and can steal you a few matchups.
2) Henrik Lundqvist- The King is going to bring it again this season, probably the most consistent, yet overlooked goalie in the league. 39 Wins last year, a Sub 2 GAA and .930 Save Percentage. Combined with the Rangers bolstered Offense, expect a few more wins out of Lundqvist this year. (You also just know he’s fired up for not making Cosmo’s Sexiest hockey player list this year #motivation)
3) Mike Smith- Look for Smith to continue the impressive numbers he put up for the ‘Yotes last year. He tied Lundqvist’s .930 Save %, posted a 2.21 GAA and over 1900 saves. The 6’4 tendy, covers the net well, and is very athletic.
Sleeper Goalie- Kari Lehtonen- He reaffirmed himself as a top notch keeper last season on the Stars, and expect him to pick up a few more wins this season considering the Stars’ bolstered offense.
Tuukka Rask- Rask once had the starting job in Boston, and lead the league in Save % and GAA, before losing the job, not for his own performance, but because of Tim Thomas’ historic play in 2011. The question for Rask is durability at 6’3 and only 170 lbs., can he handle the rigors of a full season as the starter, luckily you won’t need to find out this year with the 48 game schedule. I think Rask’s technical, butterfly style is a perfect match for Julien’s system, which allows a lot of outside and long shots, where his angles, and ability to stay square will be a great asset.
Cory Schneider- Another goalie who is no doubt a top end goalie. Schneider filled in admirably in the stead of an injured and mentally struggling Roberto Luongo (Steer way ,way clear of him by the way) The question becomes can he handle the full time starting job. I think the answer is an overwhelming yes, but it’s still a bit risky.
Marc-Andre Fleury- After an abissmal playoff performance that has some questioning MAF’s mental toughness, the question becomes, can this premier goalie bounce back to his former level?
Pekke Rinne- Its tough for any goalie to lose his number #2 Defenseman, Especially when he would be the #1 on almost any other team. I expect this to have more influence on the Preds W/L than Rinne’s performance. But I expect his W’s to drop a bit.
Just a few of my humble predictions for the upcoming NHL season, I'm just glad the season is back and I get to make them!
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