Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Chances are excellent that a shop in Middleton is the only place in the world where the heads of Tuukka Rask, Jimmy Howard, Brian Elliott, and Anton Khudobin are stacked next to each other on a dusty and well-worn cabinet, looking like they belong on Easter Island.
The space is the headquarters of Pro’s Choice. It is a company that designs and produces custom goalie masks in conjunction with Vaughn Hockey. Dom Malerba, a former Malden Catholic goalie, launched Pro’s Choice in 1988. Since then, Malerba has been the company’s one-man assembly line, responsible for everything except the sundae-topping paint job adorning each of his masks.
The heads of the NHL goalies are the cement busts of Malerba’s clients. To make each piece fit perfectly, Malerba needs the heads — he produces them after taking a plaster mold of the goalies’ faces — and all the respective bumps and contours of noses and cheeks and foreheads.
Malerba’s familiarity with his clients is to a point where he can look at one of the gray cement blocks and tell whose face it represents.
continued plus more hockey topics...
from Josh Kosman and Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Sports megabrand Adidas is weighing a move to lower the team-sports profile of its Reebok unit, The Post has learned.
The move may first be seen in the NHL where, sources said, Adidas has recently asked the NHL for permission to replace Reebok as its official uniform supplier with its brand.
In fact, in locker rooms during this week’s NHL Stadium Series games at Yankee Stadium, the cold-weather gear handed out to players for the Rangers, Islanders and Devils was Adidas brand — not Reebok.
The NHL told players to cover up the Adidas logo — including those on T-shirts and underwear — when the media is in their locker rooms, because the NHL has not approved a supplier change, two sources close to the situation said.
EyeBlack, the official EyeBlack of Athletes, is proud to announce the use of eye black in professional Hockey. Both of EyeBlack’s patented and proprietary glare reducing products, grease tubes and adhesive-strips, were utilized by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, LA Kings, Anaheim Ducks, NY Rangers, NJ Devils and NY Islanders in their outdoor hockey games. This introduction signifies a breakthrough into Hockey, a major sport where eye black is not traditionally worn.
The Detroit Red Wings Head Equipment manager Paul Boyer commented, “The eye black was very effective in keeping the glare from the lights on the ice out of our player’s eyes. Our players especially liked the fact that it didn’t rundown their faces as the snow pounded away at them all game.”
from Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star,
If the NHL’s move to smaller pads was initially opposed by many of the men who go to work wearing them, certainly the statistics have softened resistance. Scoring is up only a fraction this season, to 5.34 goals a game from 5.30 a season ago.
Meanwhile, the league-average save percentage has gone in a counterintuitive direction. Two seasons ago it was .911. Last year it was .909. This year it’s at .914. If the new-found mobility provided by smaller pads hasn’t been solely responsible for making goalies better, it’s hard to argue they’ve made them worse.
Still, Whitmore, the league’s senior manager of hockey operations, said the changes have done what they were designed to do — specifically, to ensure that goaltenders are required to make “more athletic saves” rather than simply allowing supersized equipment to block pucks.
“If it’s an athletic save, it’s as exciting as a goal,” said Whitmore, 46, who played goal in 155 NHL games. “Sometimes we were getting to the point where these big pads were just getting in the way and the pucks are just hitting them. I’m not saying there’s a right way and a wrong way to play goal. But when you watched Mike Palmateer and those guys as a kid, it was exciting. It made you want to be a goalie.
“We want to see the best athletes (wanting) to be goalies again. Football always has the best athletes at wide receiver and quarterback. Goalie is the most important position on most teams. Why not have the best athlete?”
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from the CP at Sportsnet,
Bauer has unveiled new equipment for six NHL stars that it says represents “game-changing technology.”
The equipment manufacturer says its body suit and skates were designed to be so light that players could get to the puck almost a foot faster on a race from blue-line to blue-line, and new pads were made so goaltenders could get from the post to the top of the crease an inch faster.
If that is indeed the case, it could lead to more innovations in equipment from other manufacturers.
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
Daniel Palumbo is quick to smile.
You would be too if you were on the brink of revolutionizing an industry, or had a great shot at selling off your invention and striking it rich.
Palumbo won’t say their names due to confidentiality agreements with their agents, but seven NHL players want what he’s created. And what he’s made cannot be replicated by the big hockey stick brands: a specially reinforced hockey stick he promises is two to three times stronger and more durable than the regular composite sticks you’ve seen shattering on point shots and leading to shorthanded scoring opportunities the other way.
continued and watch a video of the unbreakable stick below...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
A hockey player’s stick is not just a tool for passing, handling, and shooting pucks.
It is a technological advancement, performance enhancer, and style statement tucked inside a marketing pitch — the latter being available via video on your phone.
“A stick,” said Kevin Davis, president and CEO of Bauer Performance Sports, “is not just a stick.”
Naturally, hockey’s best players serve as a powerful lobby in dictating whether a piece of equipment becomes a hit or an afterthought.
Just like a stick is not just a stick, a rink is not just a rink. The 200-by-85-foot surface is as much an equipment proving ground as it is a stage for performance. NHLers, as finicky with their sticks as a violinist is with a bow, repeatedly dial in their approvals and annoyances for every piece of gear.
continued plus additional NHL topics...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Marc Savard suffered his final hit as an NHL player Jan. 22, 2011. The blow from teammate Matt Hunwick happened less than 10 months after Matt Cooke delivered his blindside wallop.
The hit that is less obvious but might have contributed to Savard’s condition happened Jan. 15, 2011.
Pittsburgh’s Deryk Engelland closed on Savard as he passed the puck. The force of Engelland’s approach drove the back of Savard’s head into the TD Garden boards. Savard went down, but he played in the next four games, the last of his career.
It’s possible the Reebok Checklight could have red-flagged Savard’s condition following Engelland’s check.
The Checklight, developed in conjunction with Cambridge-based electronics company MC10, is a wearable device that monitors head impacts.
A hockey player would wear a skull cap under his or her helmet. A tab containing impact sensors slides into a groove inside the cap. An indicator with green, yellow, and red lights is positioned outside the cap along the back of the player’s neck.
continued plus additional hockey topics...
from Eben Novy-Williams & Tom Keene of Bloomberg,
The National Hockey League may cut the size of goaltender equipment again after it shortens leg pads by about two inches this season to try to increase scoring, Commissioner Gary Bettman said today.
The league and its players’ union agreed this offseason to reduce the maximum length of goalie pads, according to NHL.com, after scoring dropped for the fourth consecutive season. Bettman said the league is exploring additional changes.
“We’re looking at other things that we can do to reduce the size of the equipment and open up more space to shoot at,” Bettman said at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit hosted by Bloomberg Link in New York. “But we have to be careful because, again, goalies are important, valuable, and we don’t want them needlessly hurt.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com