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.