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Law Goalie

Member Since 27 Apr 2007
OFFLINE Last Active Dec 30 2013 07:06 PM

#952218 Dissecting the pad

Posted by Law Goalie on 22 January 2013 - 10:40 AM

Yeah, and like most hermits, I disappear for long periods, only to emerge in full rant.


It's funny you mention that: the MacDonald brothers (a pair of superb hockey and goalie coaches from NJ) and I had, at one point, kicked around the idea of a flash-based diagram.


There is a 'goalie dictionary' from the old goalieboard.com forums that someone mirrored on new hosting, but it's merely OK.


In terms of general vocabulary...


The main body of a pad is 'broken down' into four main sections along the face: boot, shin, knee, and thigh.  The thigh is also sometimes called the 'thigh-rise', although confusingly, this is also sometimes used to refer to some arbitrary, cryptic 'plus size' that has been 'added' to the thigh.  Basically, it's a meaningless distinction now, given Kay Whitmore's NHL Rule 11.2 LDS formula (Limiting Distance Size): "The Limiting Distance Size will be the sum of the floor to knee and 55% of the knee to pelvis measurements plus a four inch (4”) allowance for the height of the skate."


These four sections are connected by three 'breaks' in the pad: at the ankle (often called the 'boot break'), and above and below the knee.  These are generally referred to as 'internal breaks'.  These breaks can be built to function like hinges (as on the original Pete Smith Velocity design for Vaughn), or they can be more or less solid angular joints (as on the original Michel Lefebvre RBK design) with little to no flexibility, but which give the pad a contour that more or less follows the leg; see the short-lived 'Flatpads' for a design that was almost a straight plank.  However, some people will refer to a pad with inflexible joints as having 'no breaks', even though this is not strictly speaking true; they just mean that the breaks are non-functional.


On the face of the pad, you'll also find the 'vertical roll' running up the lateral (outside) edge.  Generally, the vertical roll will 'express' or 'carry through' the breaks in the pad, though sometimes a non-broken vertical roll will be used to add a little stiffness to a pad with very flexible internal breaks.  Breaks in the vertical roll are almost universally called 'external breaks.'


From here, we can get a little more general.


Anything called a 'wing' (calf or knee) is something attached to the medial (inside edge of the pad) at a certain 1/2" offset (see NHL 11.2); a wing will be in contact with the ice just behind the medial edge of the pad itself when in the butterfly.  Anything called a 'riser', a 'lift', a 'stack', or a 'block' (or similar terms) is simply some packaged layering of foam that supports the knee on top of the wing when in the butterfly.


The 'knee lock' or 'knee cradle' is the innermost layer of padding for the knee, generally attaching behind the knee with an elastic velcro strap.  Some of these are one-piece cradles, as on Lefebvre's Kohos and their Reebok inheritors; some are two or even three-piece designs, with individual pieces sewn or laced into the back of the pad between the upper and lower knee breaks.  While almost allr etail apds come with knee-locks, no everyone employs the straps or even keeps the knee-lock in place: many pros prefer to remove them entirely to accommodate larger knee-pads (individual pieces that strap directly to the leg and slide up under the pants).


A 'calf wrap' or 'leg channel' generally refers to the innermost layers of padding on the rear face of the pad, sitting closest to the leg.  Some people refer to the pad's stays (the 3mm nylon cord used to lace the pad's shell to the foam core) as the leg channel, but this is simply inaccurate.  There can also be velcro elastic 'calf lock' straps, which hold the calf padding closer to the leg.


Generally, an 'open' leg channel is is wider, leaving room for the leg to move around behind the pad; a 'closed' leg channel will wrap more closely to the leg, yielding a more responsive pad.  That said, the way that one straps the calf padding plays a significant role in determining how the knee and calf feel and play.


Straps are straps: pretty self-explanatory.


Lower down the pad, the 'boot channel' is not well defined in NHL 11.2, but is generally taken to be at least a 1/2" deep recessing of the middle portion of the underside of the boot.  The 'toe ties' or 'toe strings' are 3mm nylon cords or skate laces (or sometimes elastics) that the goalie laces around the skate boot, and which connect to a point on the toe of the pad called the 'toe bridge.'  The toe bridge may be simply two holes punched in the toe of the pad and reinforced with a small tab of strap leather (as on many Brian's pads), or or may be a flap of heavy leather bolted onto the toe of the pad (as on Koho/Reebok), or it may be a 'sliding toe bridge' (invented by Pete Smith) in which the toe ties loop through a plastic disc (or discs) and a slotted plastic tab that allows the laces and disc ('slider') to slide back and forth as the foot rotates behind the pad in butterfly transitions and movements.


That should do as a primer.  If you want to get into actual dissections of pads, I do have photos, but that's a bit more of an odyssey...

#951398 2013 Graf Catalogue

Posted by Law Goalie on 16 January 2013 - 11:09 AM

On the goalie front:


It's nice to see Graf immediately integrate their new MCI construction into the goalie boots, and that they continue to offer three different widths (Narrow, Regular, and Wide) in their goalie boots.


The updated Graf cowlings began to trickle out on the 7500-series skates last year, and have thus been labelled as the '7500 cowlings' though Graf doesn't given them that designation in the catalogue.  In addition to a new replaceable runner and improved stainless steel, they offer a MUCH more streamlined profile than any previous Graf cowling in order to compete with the Bauer Vertexx and Reebok/CCM Customlite cowlings.  In fact, our own man jimmy has found in his testing that the Graf cowlings may actually offer greater attack-angles to the ice (in at least some sizes and situations) than the Bauer or Reebok offerings.  The '396 yellow' option is something different, certainly, and novel as far as I know (apart from the yellow-and-green dyed leather cowlings that the California Golden Seals' goalies used!), but they might have got more mileage out of black.  Apart from those changes, the basics of the cowling remain the same: a much shorter blade with a much shorter profile (~24'-26') than most, a standard goalie-width 4mm blade, and a more rounded appearance.


On the goalie stick front, Graf has five offerings this year -- but, unfortunately, only *four* paddle sizes, and only offers *any* option in paddle size on two of their five models.  The "100%" carbon-based Ultra G7500 and Supras G5500 (which are, apart from 55 grams, otherwise undifferentiated in the catalogue) and the fibreglass-reinforced wood foam-core Ultra F750 are only offered in a 27" paddle height ("SR").  For 25" ("INT"), 23" ("JR") and 19" ("Tyke") sizes, you'll need to look to the "30% carbon" Supra G4500 or the fibreglass-reinforced solid wood Supra F450.  It's nice that Graf is offering a goalie stick under 20" at all, but a 4" drop from 'junior' to 'tyke' sizing leaves a huge range of goalies out in the cold.  Without knowing how Graf has measured their sticks, my guess is that none of the 'Senior' options would be usable for me; I'd be limited to the 25" 'intermediate' size only available in the 4500 -- as would many fully-grown goalies with properly-sized paddles.  That's not to say the sticks aren't good, but that I probably wouldn't be able to use them, and I'm not exactly a midget.

#950908 Concussion support group

Posted by Law Goalie on 12 January 2013 - 08:34 AM

That is a total dick move on his part.  As a goalie, sliding into someone's feet has three purposes: deliberately mess them up, teach them a lesson, or, in professional circumstances ONLY, to avoid having to make a save.  You'd be totally within your eye-for-an-eye rights to ring his bell, but having been through it yourself, I'm not sure you'd wish it on anyone deliberately.  Maybe just fall on top of him while he's in the butterfly and blow his knees out...


Incidentally, two profs at York in Toronto are conducting an enormous concussion study as part of a larger Health Canada initiative.  Alison MacPherson is an epidemiologist; Lauren Sergio's a kinesiologist.  Lauren's website (here) also has some course materials that are definitely worth checking out.  Two very, very bright ladies, both of whom have sons in hockey.

#950859 modifying cage

Posted by Law Goalie on 11 January 2013 - 06:32 PM

Agreed.  What I was talking about was a custom cage *from* OTNY (or any other good cage maker), including a proper chin setup (cup or sling), fitted to the side-clips of a helmet: in other words, the same as a regular cage except for custom wires, spacing, and overall shape.

#950431 2013 Bauer Goal Catalogue

Posted by Law Goalie on 09 January 2013 - 07:57 AM

Thanks, JR -- the MSH catalogues are always a highlight.



Unchanged: pants, C/A's (still with the AWESOME removable chest/belly liner on the Pro -- a huge contribution to the cleanliness AND 'air-bag' protection of any C/A), the Wright-based (960, etc.) and NME mask lines, and most of the Supreme lines (except as below).


The Reactor line takes over from the Rx series and several legacy pieces, and, having made the original Reactor 6 pad one of my first tear-down projects, I'm very interested to see the pads in particular.  It is also extremely cool to see Brian Elliott rewarded for an incredible season by being made the face of the Reactors: well earned.


What's a little strange is that Bauer seems to have positioned the Reactor line, pads aside, in a 'budget' position relative to the Supreme.  Their  language suggests that Bauer intends the Reactor to be an 'agile' or 'classic' line, and the Supreme line more about butterfly coverage and heavy-duty protection, but the *impression* from the catalogue is often that the Reactor line is simply missing the top-end Supreme features.


Consider the new 2013 goal jocks, an update on the slightly angular design inherited from Itech.  They appear, in essence, to be the same design: apart from colour differentiation (yellow and blue), there's only the addition of a layer of MaxSorb over the Supreme's cup (a welcome addition, I'm sure!), and the use of mesh on the Reactor's pelvic shield.  The Reactor goalie jock appears to be just a downspec'ed Supreme.  It may be a few grams lighter, but Bauer hasn't stressed that here, and on the core protection it hardly matters.


Ditto the neck-guards: the Supreme has MaxSorb in the central clavicle plate; the Reactor is just foam.  Personally, I'd like to see MaxSorb in the collar, the entire clavicle shield, AND extended down into a sternum and heart guard, but I am admittedly a Maltese devotee and a stickler for overprotection here.


The knee-pads are similarly positioned.  The Supreme knees are the same three-piece design as the old Itech/Bauer pro models, save for changes in colour (now bright yellow instead of orange), the addition of MaxSorb (added, oddly, it seems, only to the top thigh-guard, which is as likely to see a puck as an emergency call-up), and the addition of the same bottom 'tab', below the knee piece, that Reebok introduced in their revised PS2 knee-pad.  (As I mentioned in the Warrior review, all knee-pads from this pads three-piece design are sourced from the same basic parts; they have a lot in common.)  The 2013 Reactor knee-pad is, at last, an upgrade on the budget blue-lined 'apostrophe' or 'comma' knee-pads (so-called for the curved pieces of plastic below the knee) that had remained unchanged since the days of the Cooper Reactor line.  It's a simple design, but it works: Marty Biron is still using a pair from the 1990s.  Unfortunately, in upgrading the anterior (frontal) protection of these knee-pads for 2013, Bauer also removed the lateral (outside) 'apostrophe' of plastic and foam, leaving the knee exposed to low-angle shots, especially in post-hug positions including the VH.  Frankly, I suspect a lot of goalies may start wearing these backwards (left pad on right leg, and vice versa), simply to keep this spot covered, since it's at least possible to protect the inside of the knee with good, crisp technique; the outside is generally not well protected, especially if you like an open or absent knee-lock.


And the same appears to be true of the skates.  The Pro (aka One100) continues to be the only skate that offers the Curv composite uppers and a 3mm blade.  The Reactor 6000 *appears* to be the same basic specs as the Elite (One80), based on a 'tech mesh' upper with a 4mm runner under the Vertexx cowling; the R4000's nylon upper and non-cutout (aka One60) cowling likewise mirrors the low-end Performance skate form the Supreme line.


That said, a couple of interestingly subtle differences between the two skate lines suggest where Bauer is going with the Reactor/Supreme distinction.  The extended felt tongue is, to my mind, purely cosmetic for goalies, but it does add to the visual distinction between the white/blue/grey of the Reactors and the black/orange (as opposed to black/yellow everywhere else) of the Supremes.  The main difference seems to be that the Reactor's tendon-guard is cut substantially lower and with considerably more potential flexibility than the Supreme line.


NB: in the smaller pictures, it can appear that the Reactors are using a different version of the Vertexx cowling that seems to wrap a little higher up the heel of the boot.  This is, in fact, just an optical illusion, due to the white 'Reactor' branding on the heel of the R6000 and R4000 boots; the Vertexx cowling remains unchanged in 2013.


It's in the PADS that we start to see these differences in the skate lines played out in the most interesting ways, and the Supreme and Reactor lines start to take shape.


The Supreme pads and gloves (aka the "ONE" line) remain unchanged for 2013, except that the "ALIVE" composite reinforcement in the TotalONE glove palm now carries its industry trade name "Curv," as throughout the catalogues.  Weirdly, Bauer no longer describes the nature of the Supreme glove's break (illustrated as "thumb-to-fingers closure in the 2012 catalogue, p.19), and no longer shows a close-up of the AbSorb patch at the heel of the blocker palm.


The Reactor pads, however, are a new and very interesting proposition.  They share the standard triangular vertical roll and angular, tapered boot (JRZ design standards) with the Supreme line, but represent a a different and classic approach to some key aspects of pad construction.


The original (pre-Nike) Bauer Reactor pads had what were called Flexx Darts: a series of pleats in the vertical roll's shell, breaks in the vertical roll, carrying through into functional shin-rolls and breaks in the foam core.  Despite the Reactor's being an early transitional sheet-foam pad, these Flexx Darts and their associated structures meant that the pads could wrap around your knees like leather and deer hair, after a short break-in period to loosen up the seams and foams.  This same concept can be seen in the segmented triangular vertical roll and knee-rolls of the 2013 Reactors.  In addition to a rounder, more natural curvature around the knee, the old Reactor Flexx Darts, once broken in, would absolutely kill shots to the thigh-rise: no dangerous mid-line rebounds coming out of the five-hole in the butterfly.


Hockey World - Reactor 6 specs (thanks to Perani's online division!)



While there has been a trend, recently, to produce 'retro' designs with superficial knee-rolls that have absolutely zero correspondence to the function of the pad, the 2013 Reactor's knee flexibility is the real deal.  Sadly, the vertical stitching through the shin is purely cosmetic; the days of pads with true lateral flexibility -- the ability to twist the pad between the knee and boot -- seem to be done, at least for the foreseeable future.  That said, the last couple of iterations of the original Bauer Reactor *also* had a solid sheet of HD foam in the shin, and very limited lateral flexibility, so it's not exactly worth crying over.  (For what it's worth, you *can* make a sheet-foam pad with killer lateral flexibility -- it's just not easy to figure out.)


Part of the reason the original Reactor line did so well was that it was one of the first pads, almost to the same extent as Pete Smith's groundbreaking Vaughn Velocity design, to offer a nearly perfect modern butterfly rebound profile.  Shots to the boot and shin hit high-density foam, and could be booted out of harm's way; shots to the thigh-rise and knee, in the five-hole, just died.  Strangely, this has become increasingly difficult to find in goalie pads, many of which now generate midline rebounds off the thigh-rises with just as much energy as off the boot and shin, I have a strong suspicion that goalies who move into the Reactor line and give their pads a good break-in will be treated to some rather remarkably effective five-hole performance.


Working down the line, the 'pro' Reactor 6000 pads are Made in Canada, with a sewn-in knee-lock, sized in 1" increments from 33" to 37", with a standard "+1" thigh-rise -- which actually means that the thigh-rise is, well, not plus anything but the same size consistently.  The 'senior' 4000 (1" increments 33"-36", also available in intermediate sizing: 28", 30", 32") is the same basic design, made offshore with an adjustable knee-lock, but the 4000x adds the MyFlex selectable break system from the Supreme line -- an interesting addition.  I really like the options for fit and function Bauer's included at this price-point.  The 2000 pads, predictably, are budget versions of the 4000, the senior-size pads offered in 32", 34", and 36", with a junior line 26", 28", and 30".  (Below 26", you're looking at the Prodigy youth line, which features the newbie parent-friendly fit and wear instructions printed on the pad -- major points for this.)


Sir Roderick Laforme of The Goalie Crease (not the website, the extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and exclusive goalie retailer in Toronto) has some very interesting intel on the Reactor pads, both in how they play and the available MTO options:



Basically, the platform will be similar to the past, so R2000 stuff in Junior and Senior, R4000 in Intermediate and Senior. 


A new twist is the ability to do true plus 2" sizing on the R4000 line, which we took full advantage of as it was always passed on by Bauer in the past.


The line is very solid, I skated in the R6000 about a month back [in November 2012] and was blown away with how nice they felt. I was expecting it to be similar to the Reflex line but the way they held their shape and sealed up was a throwback to the X60's without the extra weight. 


I think they are on to something good here with this entire lineup. Structurally, the pads seem like they will have more life long term than the Reflex line did, the core is very solid!




The fit on these will be a bit more true than the Reflex series, which always seemed thigh rise heavy. The R4000 will be the crossover to RX8.




From the catalogue alone, it's a bit hard to get a read on the Reactor gloves at this point.  The most obvious difference from the Supremes is the two-piece cuff and full binding perimeter of the Reactors, as opposed to the one-piece cuff and partial bindingless construction on the Supreme gloves.  Bauer also lists the Reactor as a "full hand closure," like they did the RX10 last year.  However, the difference between one- and two-piece cuffs is basically non-existent these days, and so I've had to look beyond the catalogue for some additional info -- which suggests that the Reactor trapper is not merely the RX10 in new clothing, but something rather more interesting:


More from Sir Rod on the Reflex gloves:



The glove is based off the Roli spec platform with an updated backpad and the blocker is very similar to the XR10.



The "Roli Spec," for those who haven't encountered it before, is Bauer's shorthand for a particular interpretation (NOT a clone) of the classic Vaughn T5500 'Vision' glove -- apparently the closest to this gold standard Bauer's ever come in a retail glove.  The Goalie Crease has, for years, brought in custom orders of Roli, Kipper (Vaughn V1), and other NHL-spec gloves, and now the Roli Spec catcher looks to have made it to prime time.  Very cool stuff.


I'm also pleased by Bauer's continued attention to backhand (what Rod calls 'backpad') design.  This is a grotesquely overlooked aspect of gloves.  It's often assumed that most of a glove's catching ability happens on the anterior (frontal) aspect, where the puck impacts most commonly.  However, the backhand of a glove, if improperly designed, can actually render an otherwise fine glove useless for catching.  The dark secret to making almost any glove feel like a baseball glove -- that is, like a T5500 or a TPS Bionic -- is simply to disconnect the backhand, or loosen it as much as possible.  Crank the straps back down, and it stops working naturally.  My hope is that the Reactor will mark a major return to pure baseball-style catching gloves.


And, since I'm a glutton for nourishment, a little more from Rodamanthus on the subtleties of the Roli Spec, and how it relates to other interpretations of the 5500:



Beautiful glove. What are the real differences between say a Roli spec and a Toskala spec? Theyre both based on the 5500 correct? Can anyone name the differences between say a standard 5500 clone, toskala spec and roli spec?


It was mainly the break. The original glove we based our 5500 clone off was a Roli Spec Reflex 9 return we got in that was easily the nicest glove I have ever put on my hand. The thing was butter! Anyhow, when we asked for the 5500 clone, they decided to send us the Toskala, which was based off his actual 5500 glove he was using. There was a slight difference in the molds between the two, the Toskala had a taller palm poly and it closed on a two break type design, not a single break like the Roli.


The Toskala was a nice glove but was not even close to that original Roli mitt they made up when trying to pull him out of TPS at that point. This year, we were very specific in asking for the actual Roli mitt and they nailed the original to a tee!


It is a beauty!




A final interesting wrinkle from Rod regarding availability:



April on the R4000 and R2000 lines. R6000 will start to trickle in February.



So it seems like Bauer is really going to put their best foot forward with a classic, super-flexible pro-grade Reactor pad early in 2013.



Lastly, also new for 2013 is the Bauer Concept mask line, which is added to the ongoing NME and Wright-inspired 960 etc. lines.  While the protective value of these new masks remains an unknown -- and as possibly the lightest and thinnest mask ever to hit the market, that is definitely an area of interest -- there are some neat features that are worth pointing out.


The carbon edge wrap is an attempt by Bauer to address a huge problem in retail masks: chipping around the perimeter of the shell, particularly in thin or aggressively styled edges.  Some goalies had actually been using car door trim to protect their edges, but Bauer has now incorporated this into the shell itself.


The Concept line also sees the introduction of two potentially valuable protective technologies: the SAW [shock-absorbing wire] cage clips and Suspend-Tech liner.  The SAW system is, depending on your point of view, either an enhanced version of the rubber bushings goalies have been using to add extra shock-absorbtion and vibration-dampening around their cage hardware for years, or a scaled-down, non-pneumatic version of a baseball catcher's cage shock-absorbers.  Either way, it's great to see this in a major retail mask, since even a fair hack solution like rubber washers can make a huge difference, especially in post-impact ringing.  The latest medical information suggests that goalie are, in fact, at exceptionally low-risk for catastrophic concussion, but extremely high risk for repeated sub-clinical (that is, undetectable) impacts, so any little bit helps.  How a free-floating suspended liner will translate into a goalie mask remains an unknown, but I can't see how it would be a detriment: pro goalies have been using chin-slings successfully for years, and the mechanical principles are the same.


That's it for now: back to the MLA with me...

#950371 Miller being traded?

Posted by Law Goalie on 08 January 2013 - 04:53 PM



And in other news, Stamkos is about to be traded to the Leafs!  I saw him at a Beretta Farms outlet!

#950342 Trials and Tribulations of a rookie minor hockey coach

Posted by Law Goalie on 08 January 2013 - 11:05 AM

[...] We were going to have to rely on our defence and goaltending, as scoring could be an issue.


[...] My goaltender is displaying an "I don't care" attitude on and off ice.


[...] With our goaltending issue, and absolutely zero offense, we have been unable to generate anything!  We are now 0-9, only scored 7 goals, and have allowed 43!  The kids are still having fun at practice, and have heard no complaints from anyone - other than a grandparent we suspect, yelling for a coaching change during our last game. 



If you don't mind my sticking an oar in, I want to suggest a couple of things.  I'm assuming that you do, indeed, have one goalie, singular.


The fact that the practices remain fun and instructive is, bar none, the most important thing: you can sit back on Sunday evenings with your pipe, slippers, and whiskey, and reflect on how awesome you are for doing that.  Welcome to the Bruichladdichood.


The first thing I want to point out is that a GAA of less than 5 on an 0-9 team that scores less than a goal a game is not that horrible; it's actually kind of admirable.


The indifferent attitude you're seeing is your goalie's attempt, psychologically, to cope with what is to his mind a hopeless situation.  It's sort of an unhealthy version of what would, under normal circumstances, be not only acceptable but beneficial: the 'just control the next puck' motivation that keeps goalies going through tough games.  Your goalie, being a lone goalie, doesn't even have the hope of sharing the load or the implicit blame -- which, no matter how much you tell him you don't blame him, he will feel *unless* he believes in himself and his game.  The fact that you, and I'm sure everyone else on the team, knew from the start that you'd be relying on your goaltending is upping those stakes as well.  That's not to say you did anything wrong -- kids aren't stupid, and any goalie who can read a scoreboard knows when his team is depending on him -- but only to point out certain murky realities.  At the very least, you've kept the poor kid from deliberately attempting to get himself thrown out of the game by fighting, cursing the ref, etc., and thus deliberately forfeiting the games ot hurt his team and deprive his teammates of play, which I have seen in some similar situations.  Again, congratulatory drams all round.


The best thing you can do, from a goaltending perspective, is to give him some sort of control over his game.  That's really what goalies do: they attempt, using observation and communication (from their unique, QB-like perspective), puck-handling, and, for the remaining ~30 seconds in a 60min game, actually stopping pucks, to control a game in which they are unusual participants.


If you haven't already made your goalie the centrepiece of your team's defensive communication, do it now.  There are lots of threads on this; Ryan Walter's book on Hockey Plays has some other good stuff.  (I recently put together a condensed one-page 'call-sheet' for my organisation's coaches and goalies, so if that would help, PM me and I'll email it to you.  It's nothing new, just a collection of what works.)  Basically, you want your goalie to know that he CAN, if he wants, tell his D what to do, and they'll do it.  That degree of mastery will give him enormous confidence, and he'll enjoy the hell out of bossing everyone around.  It will also allow him both to blame the D more freely and less problematically if they screw up, and to accept responsibility if HE screws up.  Even if he doesn't actually do it often in games, the mere idea that he *could* will be helpful to him.


This should also extend to your goalie's puck-handling.  Any time you can get him to involve himself in the play, do it.  It doesn't matter if he can't shoot well; Brodeur can, and he's a terribly predictable, increasingly ineffective puck-handler. (Oh, look, forehand rim up the glove-side glass AGAIN...)  Ed Belfour is routinely cited as one of the best puck-handling goalies of all-time by his defencemen, and all he did was listen to Tretiak, and largely confine his puck-handling to teeing up the puck for his defencemen on their forehands, and sometimes sweeping it into a useful area (away from the forecheck, towards his guys)  Any time you run a breakout drill, dump the puck to him first.  If he's having trouble with his puck-handling from a skill perspective, struggling to pass on the backhand, or to hold his stick strongly with his glove-hand, bring in a goalie coach for one ice-time to address that specifically.  He will have a TON more fun on the ice.


Definitely start having a parent or assistant run a rebound rating stat for the goalie.  This may seem unfair, but it will actually help him to understand how he can control the scoring chances he faces.  My system is to mark 5 for a weak-side rebound that is essentially a pass to an opposing player; 4 for a weak-side rebound that is NOT to an opponent, but is above the bottom of the circles; 3 for a mid-line rebound (more or less straight back out); 2 for any rebound angled away below the circles; 1 for rebounds ramped up and away with elevation below the circles; and 0 for pucks caught or trapped to the body, directed out of play, or intentionally passed to a teammate.  Goals don't count, except as asterisks on rebounds with directly consequent goals.  (This isn't everybody's system, but I prefer it.)  What he'll learn, gradually, is that by controlling his rebounds he can, to a considerable extent, control the scoring chances the other team receives.  Having a goalie coach come out, for a practice or two, to get him to work on catching pucks in front of his body and pads, absorbing shots to the body he can't catch, and ramping low shots to the back glass would likely be useful.


Finally, in your position, I'd suggest cooking up a new set of goalie stats.  I'm assuming, given what you describe, that your team gives up a lot of 'premium' scoring chances.  So without going into to much detail, start excerpting those from GAA and SV%, so that he has, in effect, two sets of stats: his GAA and SV% against 'reasonable' scoring chances, and his GAA and SV% against scoring chances where he's essentially trying to steal a goal away from the other team.  When he sees (as I'd imagine) that he's actually doing pretty well in both, irrespective of whether a 4.8 GAA is 'good' or 'bad' in the abstract and what his team's record is, he'll gain even more confidence.  His game will become about keeping reasonable goals to a minimum and trying to steal back maybe one more goal a game with circus saves.  Situationally, if he gives up a weak-side rebound against a 2v0 and it's potted for a goal, the cause of the goal is not the rebound but the 2v0, and you should be singing his praises for even delaying the inevitable; conversely, if he gives up a weak-side rebound in a 2v2 with the shooter limited out wide in a non-threatening position, you can definitely ask him whether he'd like to have controlled that puck better.


So there are a few ideas about how to deal with your goaltending issues.  I really do want to stress that no matter how annoying the kid's attitude is it's totally understandable and, potentially, the sign of someone who can improve.  The kids you can't help are the ones who treat every goal like a personal apocalypse. or who aren't indifferent but actually sullen and accusatory.


Plus, you can always offer the kid a chance to swap gear with someone his size for a practice or even a game: that's always fun.

#950236 2013 Warrior Goal Catalogue

Posted by Law Goalie on 07 January 2013 - 03:04 PM

Pete Smith had been hinting for a year now that he'd found, in his words, the first major step forward in C/A design since John Brown's top units hit the scene in the 1980s.  That was a huge moment for goalies who had grown up with upper body protection that was largely cotton, felt, and a few bits of leather-covered plastic sewn over key spots -- and, most importantly, separate pieces for the arms and chest: hence the lingering terminology of a 'chest-and-arm' protector.  Brown's major innovations were the perfection of shoulder-floater and elbow-floater designs, and the protection layered behind them, covering the gaps created by the integration of arms and chest into a single unit, and a layering of felt, thick plastics, and low-density foam that remains the gold standard (I may need need to say, 'remained until now') in protection and rebound absorbtion.  John's design has reigned supreme (in various guises) for the last three decades.


There were, however, a couple of drawbacks to this design, and no-one had, until now, been able to get outside them.  The first was that any increase in protection required thicker layering, and thicker layering meant more resistance at the joints: the old mobility/protection compromise.  This was invariably most noticeable at the elbows -- in large part because even Brown's C/A had a recognised weakness there.  The gap in the curved arm plastics behind the elbow-floaters, necessary both for mobility and sane construction, meant that a shot into the seam of the elbow-floater was going to hit the joint slowed down by little more than a few layers of nylon and open-cell foam.  This gap had to also be relatively big, since at full flexion the forearm touches the bicep, and anything in between limits the range of movement.


This brings us to the single biggest innovation on the Ritual Pro C/A, and the most obvious one: the AxyFlex elbows.  What's fascinating about this is that Pete Smith has been inventing and patenting foam and plastic hinges on goalie equipment since the 1990s; his thought has been going in this direction for a while.  The AxyFlex elbow is really quite simple in its function, like most pieces of truly elegant and effective design.  When the elbow is fully extended, the elbow-floater sits straight across the joint, a few centimetres in front of the actual elbow, suspended on its 'slider', and the hard elbow-cap (a flopping goalie's best friend!) is recessed up into the tricep area.  As the elbow flexes, the elbow floater does too, just as on traditional designs -- but Smith's elbow-floater also slides outward, removing itself from the joint, as the elbow-cup hinges out with it.  Thus, thoughout the movement of the elbow, there is minimal material between the forearm and bicep, and yet no gap in protection anywhere.


This looks just about perfect, to my mind.  The close-up picture in the catalogue of Gustavsson (you can tell by the scraggly beard) reaching across his body demonstrates that this is a C/A designed to take full advantage of 'L-Theory': the idea that a goalie should (when possible) flip his glove over like a baseball catcher and intercept pucks anywhere inside the 'L' shape formed by running a line from his blocker shoulder down to his hip, with the bottom of the 'L' across his hips.  The main thing I wonder about, at this point, are how the elbows will work in less regular situations -- puck-handling (which one demo goalie cited as a concern in the InGoal review), Hasek-rolls, recoveries from prone and seated positions, etc. -- in essence, the whole range of athleticism that falls out side 'textbook' butterfly goaltending.  It looks to me like it will work beautifully, but it's hard to judge any way except first-hand.


The only other long-term concern is the durability of the joint.  InGoal talks briefly about how, during Warrior's testing, the AxyFlex joint was simplified and recessed into a plastic channel on the sides of the elbow (which tends to take glancing rather than head-on impacts under usual conditions).  I would go further, and point out that in the final version pictured in the catalogue, the AxyFlex 'slider' assembly looks extremely easy to repair and replace.  The slider mechanism is held in place by a loop of 3mm cord and a small plastic tab -- little different, in that respect, from Smith's sliding toe-bridge on the Ritual pads and their precursors.  If, by chance, someone did tag the outside of the slider assembly with a shot hard enough to break it, it would A) probably continue to function just fine, B) ultimately be replaced in a matter of a couple of minutes by anyone who can tie and untie a shoelace.  It's really quite ingenious.


Just as the AxyFlex elbows are direct descendants of Smith's earlier work, the other high-profile component of the Ritual Pro C/A - the Shockshield exoskeletal plastics on the forearm and bicep -- are likewise the cunning application of tried-and-true principles.  InGoal Magazine seems to think that what Warrior calls the 'trampoline liner', and what InGoal calls a 'hammock' suspension (an "inch-plus gap") behind the Shockshield exoskeleton is something unique, but anyone who has ever handled Jofa's (now Reebok's) JDP 'Joint Displacement Principle' gear, or even looked closely at a good pro shinpad, knows better.  In fact, just look at the hard plastic elbow-cups on the Ritual C/A (another nice touch!): they are clearly derived from Jofa's heritage.  InGoal even makes an explicit comparison between the plastic of player shin-pads and the Ritual Pro arms without realising that they're talking about the same principle.  What Dr. Smith did was apply a time-tested concept in equipment design to a new location: the bicep and forearm, as opposed to the elbow and shin.  It's brilliantly clever, and definitely worthy of the pending patent, but it's evolutionary rather than revolutionary.


Also, this basic idea is part of Brown's original design.  His nylon shell and liner are stitched in such a way as to create a similar sling effect behind the internal plastics; the difference is that Smith makes this a primary rather than a secondary part of the protective package.


While the catalogue makes much of the the Velcro-based adjustability of the harness and back-pad, the related adjustability of the shoulder-floaters is, to my mind, one of the most remarkable things about the Ritual Pro C/A.  The Ritual Pro not only has removable Velcro 'stiffeners' to control the shape of the shoulder-floaters -- removed for a countoured fit over the clavicle, or installed for a more tall, rigid, up-by-the-ears fit -- but the entire shoulder-floater appears to be moveable and indeed removable.  This is incredibly smart, since shoulder-floaters are invariably one of the earliest wear-points on a C/A, especially at the attachment points.


There are removable liners in the arms, as with the jock.  This too is nothing short of a godsend.  I would have preferred to see a removable and washable rear face to the entire chest and belly unit, but I'm sufficiently thrilled that I'll be able to effectively wash the interior of the arms regularly and easily.


My sole performance concern with the Ritual C/A design -- and evaluating this will have to wait until I have some shots in it -- is the rebound profile.  This is likely to be a major concern for many goalies, but I want to nip hysteria in the bud.


Modern goaltending has, by and large, evolved away from the classic 'cushion-and-cover' model that was predominant up until the mid 1990s.  The traditional approach was to use very soft padding, and very soft technique, to keep rebounds as close as possible so they could be easily covered up.  Even with modern high-density foam leg pads, a combination of perfect timing and old technique can still drop a relatively hard shot inside three feet.  The problem is that with the advent of curved sticks, the legal allowance of bigger curves, and the ultra-thin composite blades most shooters are using, three feet away from the goalie is more than most shooters need to nestle the puck up into the top of the net with even a momentary touch of the puck.  Thus, modern goaltending became about rebound CONTROL, rather than pure absorbtion.  The goaltending rebound-rating system (versions of which are used by every major team) empahsises this: if you can't catch the shot cleanly (L-theory) or trap it to your body (gut-trap/body-cradle), the shot should be ramped hard and high to the back glass with the stick, blocker, etc., or at least booted out of harm's way.  The two worst kinds of rebounds to give up (garnering the highest ratings, typically) are midline rebounds, coming out straight off the body back toward the shooter, and weak-side rebounds in which the puck comes off the goalie into an area that leaves almost the entire net open.


InGoal's review insists that "if we are talking about a goaltender down in blocking mode, with arms extended down to the side and blind to the puck about to hit them, there is no way that doesn't produce a rebound no matter what they are wearing." 


This, I'm sorry to say, is not a strong position in terms of equipment or technique.  One of Mitch Korn's basic screen-shot drills is to put a mask-bag over the goalie's head, then hit him in the stomach and chest with pucks; this completely eliminates visual anticipation of impacts, and yet well-trained goalies will still demonstrate mastery in cradling or trapping pucks to the body with their gloves: only a 'softening' of the abdomen into a concave shape (largely by dropping the butt down) during the impact.  The same thing can be accomplished with the arms by keeping them relaxed and ready to soften a little on impact: enough to absorb the shot while still closing the 'seal' of the arm along the body.


With a classic Brown C/A, the layering of materials (felt, plastic, low-density Plastazote foam, and open-cell foam) creates what John called a 'Shockwave' effect, with each layer soaking up a little more of the impact.  In short, if you locked your arms rigidly, the puck would pop off, but some energy would still be absorbed.  With the Warrior Ritual C/A, technique will be of paramount importance.  It will still be possible to absorb those blind (e.g. screened) impacts, especially with the responsiveness of the mechanical elbow-joint, but you won't get any help from the materials.  The flip-side of the Jofa JDP suspension design is that localised impacts (e.g. pucks) can really explode off the plastic side.  Blocked shots do not come off shinpads with much energy loss.


That said, most of the time, these high-energy rebounds can be very beneficial, as many of InGoal's testimonials noted.  Shots that cannot be caught in front of the body or trapped to it -- hard one-timers, quick high-velocity releases in close, etc., especially on the outside edges of the body and arms -- should ideally be angled away and high and hard as possible.  In these scenarios, the propensity of a Brown-style C/A to soak energy out of any puck is actually a huge drawback, and the Ritual's exoskeleton a major plus.  Get the outside of your elbow under a shot in a Brown-style C/A, and you'll probably deflect it over the net; get the Ritual's huge plastic shield on it, and you'll probably put it over the glass and out of play -- a much better result.


It's on shots 'within' the body, from the apex of the curve of the bicep and inward -- i.e. in the midline -- that I'm most interested in the Ritual C/A's behaviour.  Firstly, the exterior plastics would suggest that this C/A will be more likely to give up midline rebounds if technique is less than ideal (due to fatigue, circumstance, or just weakness) -- not only off the arms, but off the big plastic sternum guard.  Second, my impression is that while the Ritual C/A's arms offer exceptional flexibility and responsiveness, the belly looks to be relatively rigid.  I can't yet imagine how I'd make my midsection, including the C/A, go soft and concave the way it should in a classic gut-trap.  I could perform that contortion behind the C/A, but 'I get the impression that the C/A would remain more or less upright because of the long shoulder-floaters and the sternum-guard.  This isn't necessarily a problem, since it's possible that the C/A would collapse back enough on impact that it would effectively accomplish the same thing, but I'm always interested in moments when goaltending technology seems (note, seems) to depart from anatomical athleticism.


My final and related note, which is no longer of relevance to me but of potential interest to others, is that the Ritual appears to be a 'non-tucking' C/A and pant combination.  (Tucking, for those who care, is not like a gentleman's 'dressing', but refers to the tucking of the bottom of the C/A into the top of the pants, then securing the C/A inside the pants with tie-downs.)  The wide-open front of the Ritual pants and the relatively short, rigid belly all suggest that this is a C/A meant to be worn free and loose.  That's not to say that you couldn't 'tuck' the Ritual Pro C/A or use a long, tuckable C/A with the pants; you'd likely just need to use the pants on their 'straight cant' setting on the internal belt, and set the C/A to hang relatively low using the Velcro harness.



As I think my little introduction illustrates, the Ritual Pro C/A is going to be one of the most discussed pieces of equipment this year.  I suspect there will be an unfortunate amount of uninformed back-talk about 'Transformers' and 'Robocop', about perceived cheating (this thing has nothing on Garth Snow's shoulder-shingles or Giguere's Conn Smythe-ridiculing monstrosity), and a variety of other nonsense ultimately driven by Golden Age fallacy.  What will emerge, however, is how well this radical design works under fire in the long run.





An ECHL goalie named Rob Madore (now with the Florida Everblades) has posted a really interesting review of the Ritual Pro, rightly full of praise for Eric Marvin, Warrior's pro goal rep; and here's his set of pictures, some of which I've included with relevant text below:





My first impression on them was that the mobility was similar to what I got with my used unit, so off-ice I thought that this could be an advancement over anything before if they broke in as my others had in the past, though I was skeptical with the radically different construction. I also had serious doubts about the durability of the arms hinges and floaters, as well as terribly worried about the rebounds I may get off of them. [...] On Eric’s advice I loosened up the arms to allow the hinge to work more effectively and BOOM, I was sold.





After getting over about a 10-15 minute period of adjustment to the larger arms, I loved the way the arms sealed to my sides in the butterfly. With the addition of the plastics, you get the maximum allowable width at every portion of the arm and the hard floaters essentially eliminate squeakers. The biggest difference though is the freedom of movement for your arm, I felt that I could get an extra inch or two when extending my elbow, as well more effortless mobility while catching. I couldn’t find a real difference in rebounds through but this was only one skate.


I placed an order for one the next day.







When you see this unit in person and what I tried to show through some of these pictures, is that there are tons of options for adjustment. This is in the arms, shoulder floaters (to pull them up on your shoulders, etc…) but the ones that stood out as most useful were the clips on the sides where they wrap your body. There are about 8 different places for the clips to be attached, with the ability to move anywhere from rib height to closer to your waist. This allows you to adjust the fit of the C/A uniquely to your preference of wearing, i.e. tucked/un-tucked and prevent interference with your pants. Being an “un-tucked” guy, I moved the clips immediately up to the top two attachments, keeping the straps a bit higher on my body, but preventing the catching of the buckles or straps from catching on the lip of my pants when moving. While subtle, I see this as a major improvement over having to keep my C/A loose on my body to wear it un-tucked, as I can finally wear a C/A tighter on my torso. 





After 3+ months... I am still in love with the arms of the unit, these have only broken in more and I honestly can’t remember what it used to be like “feeling” shots. When I say this, I don’t mean that you don’t feel a puck hitting you, I just haven’t had a stinger or a dead arm even once so far. Rebounds on the arms haven’t been terribly different on dead on shots, some people thought (as did I at one point) the rebounds would fly off and be uncontrollable. My personal opinion on this is that the suspension of the plastic over your actual arm absorbs the impact and offsets the fact that plastic was used in its construction. The big difference though on shots off your bicep or the crease in your arm is a lack of skip-over, having the full allowable (as per Governor Whitmore) width gives you an extra .5-1” of square blocking surface per arm and the rigidity of the unit itself keeps pucks that would have rolled over or had an unpredictable deflection off your body stay in front of you.  [...] The protection through the torso is on par with the best that I have used and the arms give me mobility and protection that I haven’t even come close to seeing before. The piece presents itself as big in the net (wider vs. taller, though likely this is due to how I wear it)...





- Upper Chest Stiffness: The upper chest has a few long rectangular blocks below the neckline, under the sternum pad, as opposed to the typical smaller, square blocks. This makes the unit a bit stiffer through your chest area. This isn’t necessarily a negative, as I’m still unsure of my actual feelings on this, but it is definitely different than others. 
-Add an extra row of blocks on the bottom of the stomach: The unit is a bit shorter than what I am used to.




And from another guy (Tony) in Montreal who's also been testing it:



I've been testing it for a few weeks and my review echos what was just said. I would add that shots that glance off the edges of the arms do fly up and into the glass, as designed. And all the straps are velcro, instead of the stupid buckles that always come undone just as you're about to head onto the ice for warmup.




This suggests that most of my speculations about the Ritual Pro's performance are pretty close to what others have observed, but there are still a number of things that would need to be examined over the long haul.


And, just for informational purposes, an example of sizing advice from Warrior's Frank Dagneau:


Height = 6 ft.
Armspan = 73 inches finger tip to finger tip.
Armspan = 56 wrist to wrist.


I would go LARGE. XL will be too long in the arms.




Finally, it's worth noting that Eric Marvin has confirmed that custom options will NOT be available (outside of some pro-issue units, presumably) on the Ritual Pro C/A this year, but he does put it forward as a good 'chassis' for competent mod-artists (like himself) to expand on:



To answer your question, we will not be offering custom options with the release of the Ritual Pro C&A in 2013. 

However, we have provided a lot of customization within this stock product so that you can get the right feel that works best for your style of play and body type.

With all this being said, I was the type of goalie that would sew pieces here and there on my gear, so if you felt adding an extra row of blocks suites you best then you could find a number of pro shops that could probably help you if you didn't want to do it yourself. Don't try it if your not confident in your sewing abilities though :wink:

#950067 Simmons Goalie Gear

Posted by Law Goalie on 06 January 2013 - 02:48 PM

Others have covered the major points, so I'll just say conclusively what they all hinted at: it's not a good deal.  The condition of the gear appears good -- that is, not heavily worn -- but it's been seriously overvalued, and is unlikely to hold even a fraction of that value if you decide to sell or upgrade.

That set is also missing pants and a goalie jock, so it's not even a complete set.


That Itech mask appears to be one of the low-end plastic ones: not as bad as the 1200, but pretty much a salad bowl.


The desire to dabble in goaltending should meet with nothing but encouragement, but I have to say, the often associated desire to buy a 'full set' in a one-off deal is irrationally common.  Buying a set someone else has used seems to afford new goalies the illusion that they'll be able to use it too; if a previous goalie made this set work for him or her, it's easy to assume it'll work for someone else.  This creates false senses of security/protection and of performance, and leads to a lot of impulse purchases of used and even new gear that doesn't work and isn't up to snuff.


The only way I'd suggest buying a full set is if you can try it several times first, which would require that your relationship with the seller is extremely friendly; this would also give you time to research each piece thoroughly.


If your budget is around $600, that can't buy you even a fraction of a full retail set of new gear, but it can get you a very decent used rack if you piece it together.  Piecing it together does come with the added burden of checking out each piece before you buys, which takes time and interest, but yields the best results.

#950056 2013 Warrior Goal Catalogue

Posted by Law Goalie on 06 January 2013 - 02:01 PM

With my Ritual LTR on mutually-agreed hiatus, I figured I'd chime in on what JR has correctly described as a major step forward in goaltending technology: fitting to celebrate at the end of the lockout!
The key thing here is what Warrior finally has a comprehensive and interactive suite of goalie equipment.  Of course, I can't yet speak to how these different components actually work together, but the bar has been set, and the sky's the limit.

InGoal Magazine has only touched on the C/A so far, so I'll first spend some time with the lower-body offerings...

While every goalie appreciates a jock's protection, there has been an almost linear trade-off between protection and mobility at the waist.  More plastics and high-density foams in a larger pelvic shield, less mobility; more mobility means less of those, and thus less protection.
By designing the jock's Shockshield to 'float' down and away from the waist on adjustable elastics as the goalie bends forward, and by scalloping the top of the Shockshield and the top of the jock's inner padding, Pete Smith appears to have engineered a compromise that allows for the highest levels of mobility while keeping the protection extremely high.  It might have been possible to add a few more spots of protection around the perimeter, but this looks to be a huge winner for Warrior.
Notice the waistband as well: elastic at the front, but a large, extremely wide, comfortable synthetic leather band at the back -- more like a high-end toolbelt than a traditional jock.  Brilliant design choice.
Oh, and the removable liner -- genius.  I currently have to throw my whole Vaughn Epic jock in the wash when I want it cleaned, and this will make a huge improvement on the longevity of this piece of gear -- to say nothing of Warrior's application of their best and brightest 'Silver Shield' material in a crucial area.
Now, of course, no jock is worth anything unless it interacts well with…
I will admit to being far more interested in goalie pants than most guys, in part because they are, like jocks, almost invariably a compromise between protection and mobility.  There are things you can do in a pair of shorts that you simply can't do in goalie pants -- or so it seems.  That said, I think Warrior's on to something here, and it's a massive improvement over last year's holdover Messiah pants. The Messiah pants were nice, light, comfy, and extremely mobile, but the Ritual pants look like an enormous leap forward into very, very good company.
The biggest feature of the pants is the 'Flexplate' setup: the set of overlapping, segmented plates across the thigh, groin, and hip.  While it's easy to pile padding into the thigh and hip, one of the biggest design challenges in goaltending is how to add protection to the upper anterior aspect of pants (the front of the groin) without compromising mobility.  In this, Dr. Smith has clearly drawn on the three benchmark pro-issue pants of the last two decades: the CCM 620G (aka RBK Premier 1/PS1), the CHL-only Easton goalie pants, and the Reebok Premier 2 (aka PS2, which has been Reebok basic design ever since).  The 620 and the Easton pants (which were designed by Michel Ferland, and updated in his MF2 goalie pants, now owned but still not marketed by Combat Sports) use what is generally called an 'accordion' design: a set of three (620) or four (Easton/MF) triangles, wedges, or rectangles of protection sewn tightly together, and which collapse as the goalie bends forward.  This accordion design is not only highly mobile, but the best protection you can get: when using heavy HDPE plastics and good foams, it creates a 'bridge' from the pelvic shield of any good jock all the way to the hip-cups of the pants, completely shielding the pelvis and groin.  Lefebvre's PS2 pant design improved on this by making the lower part of the accordions 'flaps' that hang down over the main thigh-pads, eliminating a final traditional gap in protection there and a few ergs of resistance in waist flexion.
On the Ritual pants, however, Dr. Smith has brought this design to its logical perfection: an accordion design that floats in front of the pelvis, rather than being sewn into the pant.  This allows the accordion to offer a complete 'three-way bridge' of pelvic protection, radiating out from the jock to the thigh-pads and hip-cups.  Likewise, the hip and kidney protection is an eerily intelligent combination of floating external shields and segmented internal protection.  All in all, the Ritual Flexlplate system looks like a world-beat -- though much will depend on the material choices, and, of course, how they play in the real world.
The 'AxyCut' is an attempt to solve a classic butterfly issue -- pants jamming against the lateral gusset of pads -- without resorting to comically short thigh-guards, and while maintaing the NHL-spec 10" total width of each thigh.  Basically, Warrior just notched out the bottom lateral (outside) corner of the thigh-pads, exactly the same way that all thigh-pads are notched at the groin (on the opposite corner, top-medial).  These are indeed the very corners pants that jam against pads, but it remains to be seen how effective this will be in practise.
Internal-belt systems, as on the Ritual pants, are touchy issues.  I love them, but they are technically illegal in NHL-spec play, and I've gradually moved to suspenders because of the difficulties of making an internal belt play nicely with a good goalie jock.  That, of course, is where complementary design comes in.  The 'Adjustable Cant' feature of the Ritual's internal belt allows not only different stances but also different physiques to be accommodated: guys with burgeoning beer-bellies will likely love the forward cant setting, while skinner guys will appreciate a pant that finally doesn't slip off them.
The fully mesh rear of the pants is a great idea -- great for airflow both in-game cooling and post-game drying, and a major improvement in flexibility -- but my favourite ancillary feature of these pants has to be the (as yet unseen) removable suspender buttons.  If you don't use suspenders, you don't need them; if you do, you know how they are invariably the weak link in any pair of pants -- and if they're removable, they're replaceable.  A wonderful little touch.
And no matter how nice a pair of pants may feel, they aren't much fun to play in unless they interact well with…
This is a murderously tricky piece of equipment to design.  The knee-joint is one of the most flexible points on the body, apart from the knuckles (as any player-glove designer would tell you), and knee-joint design has baffled even NASA for decades.  Fortunately, we're not designing actual space-suits -- just metaphorical ones.
Dr. Smith's chosen a three-piece design for the Warrior knee-pads, as opposed to the one-piece flexible shield used by Master John Brown (my preferred knees).  This basic three-piece design has been commonplace in goaltending for the last decade plus: it's been used by Koho and Reebok, Itech and Bauer, Vaughn, Simmons, Passau, Stomp, and just about every other goalie company, great and small -- though some slap a massive fourth shield over the top and call it revolutionary.  They all use the same basic pieces, sources from the same places, attached in basically the same way.  The Warrior knees, however, have a couple of important differences.
Firstly, unlike Reebok and Bauer, Warrior has very sensibly (like Vaughn and others) done away with the 'hard ball' plastic cup on the front of the kneecap.  This really should be common sense, but the illustrations in the catalogue make it clear as to why this hard ball cap, which has caused enormous problems for many goalies (and actually cut me up worse than a puck ever has), is totally superfluous.  The two upper shields protect the knee and thigh from impacts; the lower piece is simply there to ensure that the knee doesn't come out from behind those shields, to hold the padding in place, and to give a little extra cushioning in case the knee slips off the knee-block of the pads.
Second, and quite subtly, the Ritual knee-pads offer a longer lower piece than most.  A common problem with knee-pads and the 'closed' or fitted leg-channels on the Ritual pads and many others is that the part of the knee-pad that wraps below the knee will 'pop out' the top of the leg-channel, then jam as it tries to slide back in; this is particularly noticeable in butterfly recoveries and the VH position, and can be extremely detrimental to overall mobility.  Most goalies just blow this off as 'not working' and try something else, or ditch the knee-pads altogether.  By simply extending the Ritual knee-pads below the knee, down the top of the calf, Warrior has completely solved a problem that has been bedevilling goalies since Dr. Smith introduced butterfly pads with the Velocity.  And, these will probably feel more like the hallowed D&R (then Daigneault & Rolland) GK10 knee-pads that for some many years were the hidden secret of the early butterfly goalies.
Finally, Warrior's 'TaperFit' design should ensure that the two massive problems with this three- and four-piece knee-pad design -- interaction with pants, and with rotation of the leg behind the pad -- are minimised, if not entirely eliminated.  (FWIW, the traditional terminology of the 'rotation of pads' is an oxymoron.  Watch a modern goalie's pads: by and large, they face up-ice all the time, while the goalie's legs do gymnastics behind them.)  This is to say that while 'TaperFit' is really just a greater curvature of the upper two pieces than you'll find on any other version of these kneepads, it has a huge impact on performance and protection.  The medial (inside) aspect of the knee-pads, which rests against the knee-block of the pads in the stance, will rotate more easily behind the pad to bring the knee-cap around the back of the pad to face down into the knee-block in the butterfly.  The lateral (outside) aspect of the knee-pads, which protects the outside of the knee from impacts in the stance and VH (which can be incredibly painful and debilitating) is likewise so beautifully rounded off that as it rotates around to rest against the back of the pad in the butterfly, there should be little to no resistance or pressure against the back of the pad (which can cause the pads to tip forward in the butterfly, mistakenly called 'under-rotation' of the pads).  And, of course, the tapering of the upper piece should mean that the Ritual knee-pads can slide in and out of the leg of any pair of pants with far greater ease, no matter how massive the thigh-pads may be.  (NB also that there is a nice, heavy leather tab on the back of the upper shield of the knee-pads, for securing them to the pants: a thoughtful touch.
I'll follow this up with a longer post about the undisputed crown jewel of the Warrior Ritual 2012 lineup: the Smith-designed C/A (chest-and-arm).

#944903 Shooting Technique/Art of scoring series

Posted by Law Goalie on 18 November 2012 - 12:22 PM

Others have hit on some points -- it is advertising, not education, and and its insistence on 'one right way' is pedagogically idiotic -- but I do think it's worth parsing this a bit.

A flexible blade does not increase accuracy; even a blade that flexes extremely consistently (e.g. a composite blade with carefully designed flex) will still involve more factors going 'right' for an accurate shot than a stiff one. Flexible blades do, however, increase shot velocity, which is one of the things the Hull Brothers and Stan Mikita found out when they started softening blades in buckets of hot water and curving them under doors. You get two effects at once: the 'trebuchet' effect of the puck sliding along the curve, like a jai alai ball, and that of the blade flexing and returning, aka loading and unloading. Neither of these make you more accurate, which is why Glenn Hall would often step out of the net in practise, and why Dennis Hull was lucky to hit the end of the rink when he shot.

A stationary shot, no matter how hard or accurate, from that range will never beat a capable goalie: ever. The only way a puck will end up in the net is if you A) flub the shot, and produce a knuckle-puck or off-speed shot, or B) simply shoot where you didn't intend by accident, or C) the goalie accidentally trips on his stick, or gets distracted by a bird or an antinomy or something. If you took two or three on-ice strides launching into a 100+mph slapshot (Skills Comp. time), you might have a chance, but most goalies would just project a passive butterfly forward into the shot and take away 98% of the net by the time the puck was released.

Changing the position of the puck through the release is important: not only to shoot around defenders, but to A) change the shooting-triangle by an even greater degree for the goalie (hopefully making him deform his stance and balance with a lateral movement), B) move the puck across the defender's body in the goalie's visual field, disrupting his visual attachment to the puck. That said, even if you had a friend stand there instead of the rock in the video, you're going to add a tiny number of goals against a capable goalie, most of them due to accidentally hitting your buddy in the shin and causing a deflection.

The only goals that get scored on capable goalies via straight shots (unscreened, undeflected, off unbroken plays in which the puck-carrier approaches the net and shoots) are those where the player convincingly preserves other scoring threats. If you use high north/south speed to force the goalie to retreat, you take away some of his balance and mess with his depth; if you use E/W movement, you force him to open up to track you laterally, which probably messes with his angle, depth, and balance; if you use compelling deception to make the question doubt your release, you can eat him up; if you have backdoor (ie. off-angle) passing options, and you 'sell' those to the goalie as viable options, he has to sacrifice depth to cover them, and you've got more net to hit; if you incorporate all of these with tactical visual interference (screens) and a quick, disguised, or otherwise non-obvious release, designed to disrupt the goalie's ability to read the puck off your stick in the crucial fraction of a second identified by Vickers and Panchuk in their 'Quiet Eye' studies, combined with strategic scouting reports on how the goalie behaves in relevant situations, you're an elite goal-scorer with a seven-figure, multi-year contract.

That's not to say that shooting pucks off plywood, concrete, or plastic in your garage/other functional area won't help; it does. It means that when you're working on these kinds of shots, you'd best be thinking about more than 'dude I just lasered that'.

That, ultimately, is the only value this video really has: for all of its inaccuracies, it at least gets people thinking about moving the puck as they shoot, rather than 'ooo what a pretty trajectory that had.'

#944163 Goalie skate sharpening issue

Posted by Law Goalie on 10 November 2012 - 08:08 AM

Might want to bump this to the Goalie section...

So game one was in borrowed goalie skates, game two was in player skates; in both cases, you had decent but not great 'side to side movement' by which I assume you mean shuffling -- moving laterally while keep the toes of the skates and the plane of the body facing the puck.

1" is an extremely shallow ROH for a goalie these days; 1/2" is now pretty common, and a lot of guys go down to 3/8". It's possible that you got 1/2" instead of 1" if the sharpener wasn't listening, or was too lazy to change the setup. Since standard goalies blades (Bauer One-series, Reebok 9K, and newer Grafs aside) are about 30% wider than player blades, any given ROH/FBV is actually deeper on goalie blades, since the edges end up being significantly longer as the shape of the hollow is carved into the wider blade. And because the profile of goalie blades is significantly longer (22' to 100', and usually around 30', as opposed to 9'-13' for a player), there's more of that deeper ROH/FBV in contact with the ice. So, to answer your first question, A) it is normal for the same ROH/FBV to 'feel sharper' on goalie skates than on player skates, and B) it could be a 'bad' sharpening.

Only way to check the hollow is to have tools capable of measuring it, which generally means taking them to a shop.

Part of the reason you feel like you're going to break your neck is that balance in goalie skates is much, much lower: moving from player to goalie is like having an inch chopped out of your tibia, and then trying to play tennis. However, I can tell you that for goalies moving to player skates, the effect is much worse: like a horrible, sudden lapse back into the athletic discombobulations of puberty, when you're try to use your skeleton without realising the damn thing had got bigger again.

As for suggestions, there's a basic flaw in your thinking about how goalies move. Even in the days of goalies using 1 1/2" and 2" hollows, shuffling as a skating movement has always been reserved for *short* lateral adjustments. If you're 'sliding like Tom Cruise', you're misusing the technique. What you want to do is more like a James Brown 'shuffle': a million little movements of the foot that make it 'seem' like he's gliding sideways across the stage. For longer, gliding movements (eg. following a pass) you want to use T-pushes -- a movement which, like butterfly transitions, recoveries, and slides, as well as C-cuts, makes the most of longer, sharp edges. (Of course, when using a T-push as a goalie, you want to keep your torso, hands, stick, and eyes facing the puck as it moves, rather than facing in the direction you're moving (in line with the toe of the lead skate.)

If, however, you're finding it hard to even make small lateral pushes with your toes pointing at the puck (which seems to be what you're saying when you describe 'picking up your feet and stepping left or right') my guess is that you aren't managing your inside edges optimally. In a shuffle, you want to do one of two things: either 1) shift your balance to the backside (pushing) leg, taking the pressure off the inside edge of the lead skate, or 2) release the inside edge of the lead skate -- just enough to let the blade slip laterally -- by shifting your balance onto the lead skate. #2 often confuses people, but it's actually slightly more effective. In a deep, wide, shot-ready stance, your inside edges are dug into the ice at a fairly steep angle; shift that lead skate back under your shoulder, and you A) distribute some weight to the outside edge, and B) significantly change the angle to the ice of the inside edge.

If you can find a moment, try getting out on the ice as early as possible (warmup/'stretch' in the hallway) and just playing around with your edges. Geometrically, they're much different than what you're used to, but if you're a good skater, you'll be able to figure them out pretty quickly.

#934096 Catching glove for small girlie hands.

Posted by Law Goalie on 22 July 2012 - 11:25 AM

Out of curiosity, which of the Itech gloves do you have? I'm not sure the 9.8 Prodigy Pro catcher (aka a lighter, better-built, materially upgraded, bindingless T5500) had an intermediate equivalent, but it was a brilliant glove; the blocker, however, was the only pro board I've ever tried that had actual protection issues. I don't know what the hell that base layer was, but it sure wasn't HL47 or HD30... I actually got bruises, and I wasn't the only one. Might have been JRZ's only slip-up -- ever.

I need to get that Int. Bionic fixed up and back out in the world...

#911816 Bauer One100 Cowling Advantages & Technical Challenges

Posted by Law Goalie on 21 February 2012 - 02:36 AM

As a follow-up, here are a couple of pictures that show relative blade lengths:

Bauer One100 vs. Graf pre-2012 Cobra cowling:

Posted Image

Pretty comparable; the Bauer blade is maybe 1cm longer in the same size. Note also that the Graf blade, though a bit banana'ed from sharpening, really is that much shorter in profile: around 22' to Bauer's 30'.

Bauer One100 vs. CCM/RBK Customlite:

Posted Image

A more pronounced difference: the CCM/RBK blade is about an inch longer. Supposedly, these are still the same size of cowling; it's the angle of the picture and the relative placement of the boot that makes the CCM cowling itself look longer.

#906407 Leg Workout for Hockey

Posted by Law Goalie on 20 January 2012 - 06:30 PM

Maria Mountain has some terrific hockey specific exercises and plans, many of the available on Youtube and her website.