IT’S BACK is right! The new Easton Synergy HTX made its debut in the NHL this month and it’s getting lots of love from both new and old fans. Being the first full composite stick to release into the hockey world, it has made a huge impact on how we manufacture sticks today. I can still remember my first Synergy, and it was by far the best stick I have ever used. No more clunkers or bricks, just feathers and finesse. Comparing the original Synergy to the new HTX, it’s crazy how far sticks have come. So let’s take a look at the history of Synergy and the all new HTX.
The first Synergy model was introduced in 2001 in that all too familiar silver finish. When it released, critics talked about how stupid of an idea it was to use a composite stick and at the time, most NHL players wouldn’t touch them. The first player in the NHL to use the Synergy was Scott Gomez of the New Jersey Devils. Now that we just got a nice whiff of nostalgia, let’s move on to one of the top sticks on the market today, the Easton Synergy HTX.
It’s been just over 8.5 months since the Vapor APX2 Stick hit the shelves and took the hockey market by storm. Since then, the APX2 has been seen in the hands of some of the most premier talent in the NHL, with none other than Patrick Kane leading the way. But now the signature black and red Vapor color scheme will receive a limited edition facelift.
For those who may not know, Bauer offers three families of hockey sticks that feature different flex profiles that cater to different styles of play. Contrary to popular belief, the player’s position does not determine which Bauer stick they will benefit most from. Rather it is their shooting style that should determine whether one is a Supreme, Nexus or Vapor player. With that being said, let’s take a look at the Bauer Vapor Sticks first.
Back in 2012, Bauer launched the Nexus 1000 hockey stick to offer an intermediary flex profile to sit between the Bauer Supreme and the Bauer Vapor stick lines. Two years later, the Bauer Nexus 8000 Sticks hit the market. Before we break it down, let’s take a look at the new design.
Similar to the Nexus 1000, the Bauer Nexus 8000 features a predominantly blacked out design. Though, this year’s model features a blue pattern on the handle.
The game of hockey has greatly evolved over the past 10 years and so have hockey sticks. Back in the day, choosing the right stick to you came down to which brand had your curve. These days, kick points are a big highlighting feature to consider when making a purchase so we will be discussing which type of a player should choose low-kick’s and which type of a player should choose mid-kick’s. For those who might not know yet, the kick point of a hockey stick is the location on the shaft that flexes most. Traditionally, hockey sticks had a mid kick point because the shaft had a constant stiffness rating from top to bottom (i.e. wood hockey sticks) but now with advances in composite materials, engineers can stiffen certain places on a hockey stick as well as soften certain parts of the carbon fiber to direct the stick in the desired location to flex. Mid kick hockey sticks flex near dead center between the top of the shaft and the heel of the blade where as low kick hockey sticks flex closer to the heel of the blade rather than the center point of the shaft.
The Reebok RibCor hockey stick is definitely unique because it’s the first pre-loaded hockey stick ever constructed. This means that the fibers are already in tension, creating optimal energy transfer into every shot. This concept may seem a little strange and perhaps because the typical notion is that all sticks are already “pre-loaded”?
Reebok designed the RibCor sticks with a geometric mold that already places the fibers in tension, allowing players to maximize each shot. Therefore, players can quickly release a shot that is backed by some fast-action pop. The pure fiber one-piece construction eliminates any overlapping material in the lower shaft and reduces overall weight. This offers a more consistent energy transfer providing a maximum shot release. The RibCor shot technology has been used in the NHL for quite some time now, making it game proven and ready.
Back in 2011, Bauer released their new line of Vapor sticks that featured the top of the line Vapor APX stick: the successor to the ever so popular Vapor X60. This APX did quite well, especially at the professional level offering the quickest shot release out of the Nexus, Vapor and Supreme stick families. Bauer now looks to further this success with the introduction of the newest Vapor stick line that will showcase the Vapor APX 2 as the flagship model.
Throughout the 2012-2013 NHL playoffs, many have seen the all-black hockey sticks with a small white Easton logo located near the bottom of the shaft. Well ladies and gentlemen, this is the 2013 Easton Velocity hockey stick in disguise (see the picture below). Easton blacked out these models so that players would be unbiased about the looks and could get a true feel of how the stick performed. The final look will be the dark Stealth-style graphics with exposed carbon fiber, and different accenting colors depending on the model.
8 months ago, CCM & Taylormade took the hockey world by storm with the introduction of the CCM RBZ and pretty soon we started seeing a lot of NHL players Strap a Rocket to the Puck (RBZ Tagline). For more information on that stick, check out the RBZ blog. It’s no surprise that the stick quickly grew in popularity and it didn’t take very long to see RBZs in nearly every locker room. Looking to build off the success of the RBZ, CCM & Taylormade will release the CCM RBZ Stage 2 in July . The Stage 2 has already seen NHL action with top players like Gabriel Landeskog of the Avalanche & Toronto’s Nazem Kadri. So let’s take a look at what CCM and Taylormade improved on with their second shot at the RBZ.