NHL Player Interview: Pascal Dupuis
By Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce
As we march through the offseason, here's another NHL player interview for you. Pascal Dupuis is currently a forward for the Pittsburgh Penguins and rides shotgun alongside none other than Sidney Crosby (when Crosby is healthy). Born in 1979 up in Laval, Quebec, Dupuis is another one of those feel good stories you run across with certain NHL players - he went undrafted, but ended up being signed by the Minnesota WIld and played his first NHL game with the Wild during the 2000-2001 season.
Minnesota's talent evaluators couldn't have been happier when he notched 20 goals and 28 assists in his second full season in Minnesota. Dupuis then went on to play for the New York Rangers briefly, the Atlanta Thrashers and then, during the 2007-2008 season, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where his game has flourished and he won a Cup in 2008-2009. This past season (11-12) was his personal best, with 25 goals and 34 assists.
We asked Pascal these five questions.....hope you enjoy them!
1. What is one thing that the general public would never guess about you?
That I used to be a defenseman until midget AAA!
2. Being a gear store, we are well aware that all athletes are different with how they choose their gear - which piece of equipment are you the pickiest about?
Definitely my skates. My summer house up here in Quebec is close to Bauer factory, so I make a couple trips every summer to make sure my skates are all dialed up for the season!
3. Tell us what has changed the most for you regarding hockey equipment since you were a kid?
Sticks for sure! When I broke into the NHL, I was playing with a wood stick! The good ol' Sherwood PMP was my go to stick back then!
4. During the offseason, are you given a very specific workout program by the team, or is it just basic guidance and it's up to you to structure the specifics?
I have been working out with the same strength coach for the past 17 years, his name is Stephane Dube and I always use specific training put in place by him. (ed. note: more on Dube here).
5. Up to now, what is your most memorable goal that you've scored as a player?
I would have to say my double overtime goal against Ottawa in game 6 last year, we were up 3-2 in that series and that goal I scored won the series for us!
Pure Hockey note: here's the goal:
Thanks to Pascal Dupuis for taking to time to have a quick chat with us! Stay tuned as we interview more professional hockey players during the offseason.
Player Interview: Todd Skirving (USHL)
By Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce
During the offseason, we here at Pure Hockey are still uber-focused on hockey equipment. The season truly never ends for us. While less hockey is certainly being played during the summer months, we are focused entirely on getting ready for the next season; what will we buy? what is the demand for? what changes do we make to the stores or the websites? how will we advertise? We ask oursleves these and a truckload of other questions. But the offseason also allows us to go out and talk to players who are too busy during the season to do so.
Our interview today is with Todd Skirving. He's not an NHL player or a professional hockey player. Yet. Todd is a 20-year old kid who plays for Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL, one of the elite breeding grounds for the NHL and for NCAA Division 1 schools. How impactful has the USHL been, you ask? Well, a total of 28 USHL players were selected in last year’s 2011 NHL Entry Draft and more than 165 of the USHL's alumni are currently under NHL contract.
One of our goals with this blog is not only to review hockey product for you, but for you to also gain an understanding of the sacrifice, culture, hard work and yes, fun, that goes into being a hockey player. This is the first of a series of interviews that we'll have with Todd as we follow up through the offseason and through the course of a USHL hockey season. Todd, in turn, is well spoken, educated and clearly is a person who knows what we wants. We sincerely hope you enjoy the series....here's part one:
1. As a 20 year old playing in the USHL, hockey is obviously one of the main priorities in your life and takes up a great deal of time. Now that it's the offseason, what are some of your hobbies and what do you generally do?
For sure hockey is definitely one of my top priorities all year 'round. It’s not just a way of living, it's also like a job. You have to put continuous time and work into bettering yourself not only as a player, but also a person. I find that the way you carry yourself off the ice leads into how you perform on the ice, whether it is your determination towards general tasks or your tenacity towards wanting it more than the guy beside you. Now that it’s the offseason, it gives me the chance to improve my skills and strengths and better myself in different assets of my game. The offseason is also a chance to relax and reflect on the past season. I encourage all players to get away from the rink and the gym once the season is at an end. It’s healthy to give the body a rest and let it rejuvenate after a full, gritty season of hockey. It will only benefit you when you get back after it in the weight room and out on the ice. Personally, now that we’re midway through summer, I like to get a well-balanced healthy breakfast in me and also a lunch before I head to the gym. I train in the early afternoon with a few of our local pro and college guys. It’s nice to train with guys above my level as it pushes me to be the best I can be and also gives me footsteps I can follow. They’re already at a level where my standards and goals are set for. I do, however, like to hang with the guys, catch a local baseball game or head out to the lake to do some fishing. I take the chance to visit with friends and family and let the body and mind recuperate.
2. What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on the ice?
I don’t have too many embarrassing moments, but during my senior year of high school when I was playing for the Thunder Bay Kings (AAA), I broke my stick on a play. I went to the bench and received a stick from another player, only to find out that it was right handed and not left! I picked the puck up from the half wall and only then did I realize it. Once I got closer to the net, I just shot a backhander, thinking it would be my best opportunity to make something out of nothing. As embarrassing as it was, it ended up going in! Not so much embarrassing I guess, but definitely a funny highlight in my career that I look back on.
3. A lot of hockey players can be wild and adventurous… Is there anything wild and crazy that you have always wanted to do at least once in your lifetime?
Yeah there are a few things I have wanted to do. I’m not the biggest fan of heights, so you won’t catch me riding around the roller coaster at any Six Flags Parks, but I would however, love to take another ride up Toronto’s CN Tower. They have recently added the CN Tower Edge walk where you walk around the top brim of the structure while being strapped in by a few belts. It’s about 356m/ 1,168ft above the ground and about a 30 min walk around, so I’m sure that would be quite the experience and a view from up above! It would be a huge adrenaline rush for me from doing something like that. I’m also a big animal fan - I would like the chance to be around a tiger, which is my favourite animal. Just to be around one for a bit would be a cool opportunity. Something else I would like to experience outside of hockey would be to swim with the dolphins. I have had many friends that have experienced such a thrill, but it’s something I’d love to do and I think it would be a fun getaway and surreal experience.
4. What is one thing that people would never guess about you, just from going and watching you play hockey?
There are a few things I could touch on here, but I would have to say my game day routines - or the fact that I am very superstitious. It’s not even just on game day, but also in the days leading up to a game. The way I prepare myself is different obviously from what others do, but in my case or even last year the guys saw it as quite superstitious. It’s less superstition and more of just a routine for me now. I used to call them superstitions, but I have carried almost all of them with me for the past several years now that it really is becoming a routine and just an everyday thing for me. I really do have some crazy and funny superstitions. However, on days where I might forget something, it won’t get to a point where it affects my one ice play. It is almost like another way to push my game to another level because I feel I have to prove the “superstition” wrong. So I would have to say I’m a pretty superstitious guy if one didn't know me. My team and fans as well could probably agree that it’s almost like another side of me when it comes to something like this!
5. Being a gear store, we are well aware that all athletes are different with how they choose their gear… Which piece of equipment are you the pickiest about when playing and why?
Growing up over the years it sure has changed in what equipment I am pickiest about. Starting out, when it didn’t even matter what you wore, to now having sponsors for equipment and having it profiled to meet my (and other athlete's) needs. I can’t pick just one here so I’d have to go with skates and shoulder pads. With today’s technology in building skates, players can get their full output and power within their stride. I like my skates to have a solid and comfortable fit. I have wide feet, so I go with a wider boot. I get my blades profiled at an 11’ radius and ¾ skate sharpening, which allows me to stay on top of the ice more and not dig into the ice, thus keeping my stride quick and powerful. I recently got a pair of the new TotalOne NXG skates. I went up from the previous TotalOne’s as it is a skate that I can literally put on and go. I do, however, also get my skates molded so it gives me that nice tight and comfortable fit on my feet. Another piece of equipment I’m picky about is my shoulder pads. I like the smaller, tighter fit when it comes to shoulder pads. I don’t like them bulky and that’s why I wore the Bauer Vapor XXXX shoulder pads this past year. I have looked into new pads for the upcoming season and I like the new Bauer Nexus shoulder pad model that Bauer is bringing along. It’s a nice, snug fit that isn’t too bulky at all. It’s like a blast from the past, too, with the colours and the way it’s designed. It looks like the new equipment is bringing back styles that were in the older days of hockey and it’s really starting to grow on young athletes and even the pros.
6. We assume you live with a host family during the season – what is it like adjusting to that type of situation?
Yes, I live with a housing family back in Sioux Falls. Usually for the first day and night it’s a little different from what you have back home. You get the tour of the house, the rundown of the rules and you usually meet your roommate and siblings for the season. I can say from experience it has been fantastic. Other players should be so lucky to get billet parents like mine. You have to go into it with an open mind and be open and accepting towards the family as they are of you. They’re doing what they’re doing because they love to take players in and they do a great job at it. I was fortunate to live with a housing family this past year who always went above and beyond. They were always there for my roommate and I, cooking us 3 meals a day and much more. When they had to work overtime or when they wouldn’t be home for dinner, they would have something cooking up for us in the oven when we got home from hockey and workouts. I think it’s great for hockey players that get a chance to live with a housing family. I think it gives us the opportunity to learn different values and life lessons that build and shape who we are as people. It’s a great learning curve for young athletes - they want you to succeed just as much as your real parents do. They’re only going to assist you along into your journey and future endeavours!
Game Time Review: Bauer Nexus 1000 Stick
Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing
Stick Tested: Nexus 1000 Grip, 87 Flex, P92 Pattern
So, a few weeks ago, a huge truckload of new Bauer Nexus 1000 sticks showed up at our warehouse. Needless to say, it was like christmas in June, because I knew one of them had my name on it to test out. Historically not being a huge Bauer sticks guy, I was a bit unsure of how the stick would perform, but still pumped to try it out. The Nexus did not disappoint.
I don't know the exact weight of the Nexus relative to other sticks currently out, but as soon as I picked it up, the weight was one of the first things I noticed. The stick is really light. On top of being light, it is very well balanced - not shaft or blade heavy.
As I tested the stick out in warm-ups, I really loved the release. Bauer took their squared, double concave taper and combined it with a Tru-Mid kick flex profile to create a smooth natural release. The blade stays square through the shot, with minimal deflection or torsion, to keep shots accurate. I felt really able to lean on and flex the stick and let go for a a hard, quick release without much effort. The mid kick really gives you a natural, effortless feel on shots.
My only real issue with the Nexus is one more with Bauer sticks in general, I found the GRIPTAC grip coating to be way too sticky. It didn't allow me to slide my bottom hand as freely as I would prefer. Besides that I really have no complaints.
The Nexus also pleasantly surprised me with the amount of feel the blade has on the puck. It gave a lot of feedback as to where the puck was on my blade. This is helped by Bauer's Power Core 3 blade, designed to have a soft feel when stickhandling while remaing stiff and strong on shots. The textured finished to the blade also helped to create more feel on the puck
For someone who is not a big Bauer stick fan, the Nexus 1000 really surprised me. It is a great stick from Bauer and is available now at Purehockey.com and all Pure Hockey locations.
Game Time Review: Bauer Vapor APX Gloves
The APX glove is this years model in Bauer's Vapor line. Bauer's strategy in recent years has been to build 3 totally different glove fits. There is the 4-Roll, a more traditional, looser fit. Then the Supreme line, which is a full anatomically designed fit, made to tightly fit and closely mimic the shape of a players' hand. In the middle of those two relatively extreme fits falls the Vapor line, a "Taper Fit" glove. This fit is looser than a supreme, but more snug than the 4-roll, allowing a tight fit with unmatched range of motion.
Having worn 4-Roll type traditional fitting gloves for as long as I can remember, it took me a little while to get used to the snugness of the APX. The great part was, I took the tags off of them and was able to jump on the ice in a game without any real issue. They are truly a game-ready glove right off the shelf.
The fit was a bit weird for me at first, tighter than anything I've used, but it is an extremely mobile glove. My biggest thing with a glove is wrist manuverability -I usually cut out the inner cuff as soon as I bring home a new pair of gloves- The APX is designed with Bauer's Free Flex Cuff, to allow for maximum mobility. Even with the snug fit around my hand, I felt very able to move my wrists freely. Along with being angled to open up and align with a players' natural hand position, the cuff is attached by a stretch mesh type material, preventing any restriction of movement.
Another aspect of the glove that I was a bit worried about was the palm. The APX features the second generation of Bauers TECHNI-FLEX palm, which to the naked eye, appears to have a lot going on. Being used to normal plain nash palmed gloves, the APX palm felt a little bit thick to me. I didn't feel that it hurt the performance, I just didn't love it. However, I will say that though I haven't used the gloves long enough to truly test out the long-term durability, I think the reinforcementsat key locations on the palm will drastically improve the palms' life in high-wear areas.
The APX glove is really light to wear as well. That was one of the things I liked the most about them. Being used to a bigger glove that are usually a bit heavier, they felt very light to me. Bauer made this possible through the use of AERO Foam, which reduced the overall weight by 20% without sacraficing impact protection.
Overall, even though it was a pretty new style of glove to me, I have enjoyed wearing the Bauer Vapor APX Glove, another solid product by Bauer Hockey. Available Here at Purehockey.com and all Pure hockey Locations.
Check out the video review here...
Game Time Review: Bauer Re-Akt Helmet
By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing
Having worn a Bauer 4500 for the better part of the past decade, I recently got to try out a few high end helmets that I likely would not have tried otherwise. I've had the opportunity to test out a couple top-of-the-line bike helmet style- foam helmets, the EPP foam Easton E700 and the slightly different Vertex Foam of the Bauer Re-Akt helmets. I have always valued comfort more than protection in all my equipment, helmets included, and because of this, I have usually leaned towards the softer, more comfortable dual-density VN foams like the 4500.
I have never found a higher end, EPP foam helmet that was very comfortable to wear. I always ended up with pressure points, or having my hair caught between the pieces of foam. The Re-Akt helmet doesn't fit that mold. After getting to try out the Re-Akt I can tell you, this helmet has everything going for it.
Lets go one by one through the normal high end helmet complaints that the Re'Akt solves...
High end EPP foam helmets are uncomfortable...
-Bauer took This EPP hard foam helmet and made it extremely comfortable. The SUSPEND-TECH liner is protective, but it also adds a nice bit of soft padding. Memory foam pads in the temple contour to each individuals head shape for a snug but comfortable fit. I really felt it mold to my head as I wore it. This helmet is also very well ventilatedto keep your head cooler in game. I usually take my helmet off between shifts to cool down, and it wasn't as needed with the Re-Akt.
More protective helmets are bulkier looking
- One of my biggest personal problems with top of the line helmets is there utter lack of style - Look good, Feel good, Play good - Bauer finally listened to players who desired a bucket with top-end protection, and good looks. Designed with the timeless look of the Bauer 4500 in mind, Bauer came up with a sleak, low profile, good looking helmet.
Protection isn't as top notch as advertised
- There was a big push a few years back of companies claiming "Concussion-proof Helmets". Well no such thing existed. Still doesn't. There are two types of concussions, those caused by a direct blow or impact. which can be prevented by the correct impact absorbant helmet/material, and rotational concussions. Rotational concussions are essentially caused by a whiplash type motion, causing your brain to rattle in your head. Bauer worked hard to create something to fight this second type of concussion, introducing the free floating SUSPEND-TECH. this moves independently from the rest of the helmet, protecting the brain from excessive movement within your head. So on top of being comfortable, this is really one of, if not the most, technologically advanced, and safest helmets ever made. The third generation occipital lock does a great job of extending underneath the back of your head to really hold the helmet in place on impacts.
Some other benefits of the helmet that I really liked include the new sizing system. It is really simple to fit, even to adjust in game. It adjusts from one clip, in the back center of the helmet, no tools, just open it, put the helmet on, move it in until its snug and snap it back into place. I am not a huge fan of ear flaps, I take them off as soon as I get a new helmet home, I still did for this the Re-Akt, but when I had the helmet on when I first received it, they were not very noticeable in comparison to a lot of others.
I have really enjoyed the Bauer Re-Akt helmet. Feels good, looked really good on the ice, and is very protective. Although I didn't skate into the boards to test it, having read about the technology, seen the tests that were run, I truly trust that if I needed that type of protection on the ice, I would be all set with the Bauer Re-Akt helmet.
The Bauer Re-Akt is available at all Pure Hockey locations, and here at Purehockey.com
Hello, my name is Tim Carter. That's me on the left, by the way. I think you know the guy on the right. I am the store manager of our Danvers, MA location for Pure Hockey. I've worked for Pure Hockey for over nine years now. I grew up locally in North Reading, MA and attended North Reading High School, graduating in 1995. I went on to Curry College and Westfield State College, graduating from Westfield in 2000. Come in and visit us in Danvers anytime, I look forward to helping out!
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