Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Bauer APX Stick Review

By Tyler Roy, Pure Hockey Berlin, MA

When you pick up and play with the Bauer x:60 stick you might think, "well, this is nice, but how can Bauer make this better in any possible way?" I was thinking the same thing, having used the x:60 multiple times and having some solid success with it. I did, however, finally get my hands on the new Bauer Vapor APX stick and somehow it feels even better than the old x:60 does. Its stronger, feels lighter, has a better puck feel and - in my opinion - looks better.

Now, the APX is going to keep a lot of the same great technology as the x:60. You're going to see the same Intelli-Sense flex profile, that means depending on what shot you take and the way your hands are positioned, the shaft is going to flex accordingly. You're also going to have the same Micro Feel 2 shaft - a slightly smaller shaft with rounded corners and concave sidewalls. But internally it's a much different stick.

You will notice that the blade on the APX stick feels different than the x:60. That's because Bauer has made a hybrid of the TotalOne blade foams and used it on the APX. This is the same blade makeup that most of Bauer's NHL players are using. This new foam set up is going to give you a much more solid puck feel but also keep your blade closed when you're shooting. Bauer also added a nice "pro style" blade texture, so if you have used a pro stock stick before, you more than likely know what I'm talking about. It's basically a sandpaper like finish on the blade that gives you an enhanced feel and your tape will grip to this texture better as well.

Moving to the shaft of the APX, this is a true one-piece stick, again just like the x:60. As mentioned previously, the APX stick is going to be using the same shaft dimensions and round corners with concave sidewalls. But on the inside, Bauer flips the switch with a new resin system, which makes the stick lighter but - more importantly - stronger. The APX stick is 15 grams lighter and a stronger, more responsive stick - sounds awesome, right? The grip system is also a little different; Bauer is offering the traditional grip tac grip (tacky grip feel), but also a matted grip as well. Other elite-level sticks such as the Easton RS and Reebok Ai-Nine will feature this softer matted grip, too.

The Bauer APX is due out 10/6 at all your local Pure Hockey stores and you can pre-order them right here as well.

0 Comments Posted at 12:00AM on 09/28/2011

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Friday, September 09, 2011
Warrior Dynasty Stick

By Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce

We just got our hands on one of these babies, the Warrior Dynasty hockey stick, due out in the second week of October. The Dynasty replaces the Dolomite, a very good stick in and of itself. As you can see, it's pretty sharp-looking.

So.....what's new? Well, the first and most notable thing is probably Warrior's new Axy Sym technology, which is an enhanced build on the shaft, particularly down low. Warrior went and added compression fibers to the back side of the shaft and when loaded, this causes the front to stretch more. As Warrior puts it, "more stretch equals more release" and "the puck is released faster with no energy loss." They have also designed these differently for lefties and righties, to spring the force directionally. That's pretty interesting.

The Dynasty has a lot of what Warrior's traditional top-of-the-line sticks have - Multi-Bias fiber for added durability, Carbon Elite construction and the precision taper for optimal flexibility. You also get the D-Lite blade core found on the Widow.

As I hold this thing in my hand (it's a 100 flex), it feels pretty unique. It's not the sticky grip of a grip stick, nor is it overly smooth, like a traditional matte. It feels almost like a smooth rubber. They call this their "Slick Grip" technology and they've plopped a little extra grip onto the back-hand and bottom of the shaft (the Nipple Grip raised edges). By the way, this thing is LIGHT at 435 grams - that's lighter than S19's, EQ50's and other top of the line twigs.

There is a definite stiffness in the one I have here - it feels a teeny bit more stiff than other 100 flexes I've held in the past, that is the Axy Sym technology at work. Keep in mind I am partial to flexes in the 85-90 range, though. Since I just got this thing here in the office, I haven't tried it on the ice, either. I can tell you that when I took it for a quick spin on cement, it felt very very good and had good pop on shots.

The Warrior Dynasty will be available here at around October 13. Watch for it! Here's some more pics, shot on my IPhone:

3 Comments Posted at 12:00AM on 09/09/2011

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Monday, September 26, 2011
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.

0 Comments Posted at 12:00AM on 09/26/2011

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Fitting Women's Skates

By Carly Stella, Assistant Manager, Dover, NH

Being a female hockey player, there arises some scenarios with having gear fit properly.  Due to the shear nature of our bone structure, and in most cases, height, there comes a time when things don’t seem “quite right” when trying equipment on.  Remember, gear is fit with using a male model as well as foot cast for skates.  Men we are not! I have spoken with a number of female customers that seem to have the same issues.  There has yet to be a company that can find a good design to fit all shapes and sizes.  Even all the way down to our feet, paying close attention to what we choose for gear is essential.

For me, the hardest piece of equipment, I find, to fit properly are skates.  Most women’s feet, honestly, fit closer to the way a junior skate boot is formed.  Yes, most of us are, however, I know that there are many issues we have with finding a skate that fits the space between the boot height and where it’s tied and where the top of our feet start, as well as the toe box.  Heel lifts, as well as insoles, have been a tremendous help to our female customers, as well as doing slight modifications to the boot.  For example; making an additional eyelet, generally where Reebok places their lace locks, minimizes lace bite and makes it easier to tighten the boot around the ankle.
A lower profile skate seems to be best for the structure of our feet, such as a Bauer Vapor or CCM U+ series.  I have noticed that the wider toe box on the CCM seems to allow for shorter toes and where they meet our foot.  The Vapor series offers a low profile at the top of the foot, leaving “less of a void” between the ankle and the skate. There is always the option to opt for pro tongues, or a thicker tongue to help fill the skate as well.

There are many of us that have no issues with skates, which makes the joy of lacing up a new pair even better! I suggest to try on brands outside your normal comfort zone if you are having skate issues.  Even small adjustments like the way you tie your skates, or wearing different socks can make a world of difference! 

Work hard, play harder… Always!!

0 Comments Posted at 12:00AM on 09/06/2011

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