Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
He sure doesn’t look much like Alexander Ovechkin — and at a little over three feet tall, he won’t strike fear into the hearts of National Hockey League goaltenders.
But SlapShot XT could be the next big thing in hockey.
The prototype robot could revolutionize the production of hockey sticks and maybe, eventually, produce better slapshots.
The robot is the brainchild of University of Waterloo engineering professor John McPhee and his team of students. They believe that once their robot gets his slapshots up to 110 miles per hour — he topped out at 60 in his unveiling last month — he’ll help solve the perplexing mystery revolving around the high failure rate of composite hockey sticks.
Regular KK readers may recall the Sens Hobo has spent his waking hours on this project.
TORONTO (April 4, 2011) - The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) today announced new five-year apparel agreements, highlighted by the continuation of its partnership with Reebok, a long-standing NHLPA licensee. In addition, the NHLPA is expanding its roster of apparel licensees to include Old Time Hockey, Knights Apparel, and Elmau & Associates.
from David Pollak of the Mercury News at the Bellingham Herald,
Patrick Marleau tried the cut-resistant socks for a couple practices, then decided against using them. But he was open to giving them another try during the offseason.
“I don’t know what it was, it just felt a little different,” he said. “It is something I’ll have to get used to in the summer probably.”
Devin Setoguchi, on the other hand, had no problem adjusting to cut-resistant socks that feature fluorescent orange or green toe areas. And he didn’t need an actual injury to make the move - just a near-miss after he started wearing the tongues out of his skates, not held close to his upper foot and ankle by the laces
“I came back to the bench and felt a skate hit the top of my tongue,” Setoguchi said. “I had a big cut on the top of my skate and if it would have been on the front of my foot it would have been pretty bad.”
To this point, neither the NHL nor its players association have gotten deeply involved in the issue of cut-resistant gear, leaving teams to sort through the various equipment now in the marketplace.
From Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette (via Calgary Herald):
“What we’re saying is that the helmet is the most important piece of performance equipment we have,” Mark Messier said. “So The Messier Project is about trying to change that whole philosophy and the education that goes behind it.”
But the M11 helmet hasn’t been very popular with NHL players (only 12 of them are wearing it this season), partly because of “the look” and possibly because it is marketed as providing extra protection.
“The NHL still continues to be our greatest challenge,” Mary-Kay said. “One of the things we’re really working on is changing the culture of hockey so that head protection becomes a priority. The No. 1 criteria for selecting a helmet should be the protection a player gets and that it fits well to optimize performance, and not just limiting it to the look of the helmet. Part of the culture (in the NHL) is that if you choose a more protective helmet, does that in some way make you a weaker player?”
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
In February, the NHL put its stamp of approval on a new type of padding that soon will wrap stanchions inside an NHL rink near you.
The Fusion Safety Pad is taller, thicker and denser than the current industry standard and was developed by Minneapolis’ Sports Resource Group.
Over the past three weeks, the company has been negotiating a contract with the NHL. Once that’s finalized, “We can pull the trigger on production instantly [in Fridley] and have these in the hands of arena operators in seven to 10 days,” said Chris Guertin, President of Sports Resource Group. “Our goal would be to get these in the arenas for the playoffs.
“Unfortunately, if this [Pacioretty’s] hit happened April 8 instead of March 8, it probably would have been a non-factor and he would have skated off,” Guertin added.
Take a look at some famous pucks.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
For the first time since THN began compiling visor statistics in 1998-99, the number of NHLers wearing eye protection has plateaued. And a pair of personal stories from two players on opposite sides of the issue sheds light as to why.
First, though, the hard numbers: of 647 players polled this year, 59 percent (381) wore a visor, while 41 percent (266) did not. That is the same percentage as our 2009 visor poll. Of course, the overall numbers of visor-wearing players has skyrocketed since 1998-99, when just 15 percent donned a shield, and the percentage had risen each year until now.
But in talking to current players who have put a visor on, or taken one off, the overall message is clear: players still want the choice. Washington defenseman Tom Poti began wearing a visor this season after sustaining a serious eye injury (and a temporary loss of vision) in the first round of the 2010 playoffs.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN talks to Kris King of the NHL regarding the change in equipment.
Also, much more on concussions from Pierre at ESPN.
from Ian Walker of the Vancouver Sun,
There is no longer a single NHL player wielding the true meaning of the word twig. Like zero. Zilch. Zip.
Even more upsetting is there probably will never be again.
“It’s the end of an era,” said Phoenix Coyotes defenceman Adrian Aucoin, one of the last holdouts, who switched last season. “In my case, Reebok changed factories with their shaft and the wood stick they produce now is a completely different stick. It was just not close to what I used to. I wasn’t so thrilled about it, but times change and you have to move on.”
The same thing happened to Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza when his brand of choice, Sherwood-Drolet, decided to farm out the mass production of wooden sticks to such far-flung places as Estonia and China in order to concentrate on the production of composite models.
Same goes for 24-year-old Paul Stastny, the last of the Luddites. The Colorado Avalanche centre switched from a Sherwood wooden to a Sherwood one-piece at the start of this season.
Yesterday I received a nice surprise- An Easton Synergy EQ50 hockey stick.
Now all I need to do is find some ice.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org