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Chadd

Let's Play Hockey trade show 2012

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JR and I are here in Vegas and start our meetings in a few minutes. Look for updates over the next few days.

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Easton - Chadd and I just saw the entire line; very intriguing product, most notably, the Mako line.

Starting off with sticks, we met up with Mike Mountain and discussed the new version of the Mako stick - starting off with shaft; it's lighter than its predecessor, and it's slightly concaved with texture. Also, using uni-directional fibers which make it stronger and lighter, and smoother. Blade has been lightened as well, and the ribs are actually shifted a bit upward increasing the area where puck meets blade. As mentioned, the Scott Bjudstad/Kreps E28 is the new pattern for 2013 - 12mm 1/2" lie 5 open toe curve.

The M5 is the latest revision of the ST concept; it is now the same weight as the 2011 Mako; also built to the CHL/European stronger-built spec.

Another story Easton is trying to tell, especially with the Hall and E28 patterns is lie - open curves and beveled toe rockers have a secondary lie on the toe which transitions into the main lie as the best way to shoot with those patterns is to pull the puck back by turning it downward then loading the shaft.

Skates - there has been some details of the Mako skate released so far; as previously stated, it's the ready-for-primetime version of the MLX concept. We sat down with Neil Wensley and Dave Cruikshank to discuss it. Fit profile is the same. The base of the skate is still one piece however the plastic is molded (together with the carbon in manufacturing) around the toebox and the toecap. You see two "windows" of the carbon on top of the toecap. The whole toecap is widened as well and much more ergonomic. The tongue is attached, and extends into the toecap to the point where it curves down, eliminating negative space in there and giving comfort. The asymmetrical pattern of the boot is still present, as well as rolled edges on top for comfort. The tongue is felt with a lace-bite guard. The tendon guard is flexible of course, and can be removed (however, it's got stronger loctite on it)

We both tried on the boot - I was in an 11D (I probably could drop down to 10.5 with baking), and Chadd was in a 9.5 (but needed an EE.) For me, the skate felt comfortable, however, the skate is built with a higher arch and so I had pressure there. It would most likely flatten out with a bake. The CXN holder is also new - the steel follows the radius the MLX skate had, which was smooth and a 9'. The rear tower is raised slightly and coupled with the boot pitch, allows for an extremely aggressive stance. Mako is a standalone skate for 2013.

RS skate remains unchanged, however, a running change for the material on the inside top eyelets for prevent abrasion. The RS family also gains 4 siblings in the 85S, 75S, 65S and 55S.

Helmets - The E700 and down stay unchanged, however, there is a new helmet coming out. We will release the spec of the new helmet in early December.

Gloves - New Mako gloves - the glove picture that was floating out there is an early revision of the concept, and while the concept is the same, aesthetically it's a bit different. The concept is called Fast Fingers - instead of having the breaks in the fingers on top of the glove, the breaks are actually wider and UNDER the finger. What this does is eliminate gaps in protection and actually follows the natural motion of the finger. Best way to look at it is to stick your hand out and look at the palm lines on your index finger. When you bend your finger, it compresses. Same concept. So, there's no backrolls on the face of the glove; it has one backroll on top and the four "fingers" seem to slide in and out of it, like a pocket. Like the RS before, some colorways look weird and some don't.

Protective - Shoulder pads are extremely interesting - it is a vest-style shoulder pad with a front entry; as in the chest place (which is ergonomic covering sternum and heart) comes apart and you put the pads on like a jacket. Once that is secure, the two straps that would normally be the conventional strapping method on shoulder pads, are attached to the spine pad and pulls the entire bottom of the shoulder pad together. The concept carries throughout the line, however NHL-spec shoulder caps on the Mako.

Elbows are a three-piece pad, with the elbow being two pieces. The cap of the elbow is pushed slightly back as well. The shin pad has a newly-designed knee as well - the break is lower so when it bends, you don't get that feeling as if the pad is sliding off, as it feels more secure on top. Also, the shin face is floating which helps with dispersion. The pants are extremely mobile; it has a 2-way belt system which sits on the hips - instead of having a belt that comes across your stomach, it actually stops at the ends. You pull each strap like a parachute chute and it holds it in place. Fully vented and different grade nylons in certain areas. RS line has new shoulder caps on them.

We totally appreciate Easton taking the time to meet up with us!

We're off to Graf tonight for their skate demo. Will try to bang out our thoughts by tonight if we can.

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Can't wait to hear what Chadd's take was on the Mako skate. HIs size is exactly the same as a friend of mine who's looking at them.

The Mako shoulders sound interesting. Low profile caps per chance?

Much thanks for the write up on the Easton products!

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Caps are smaller and completely foam very similar to the ccm CL caps. Skates have potential but I would need the EE width that they did not have with them.

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Finally we see another NHL-spec shoulder cap! There needs to be more of these out there. Vest-like as in what TPS did with their Response (straightjacket) line?

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Finally we see another NHL-spec shoulder cap! There needs to be more of these out there. Vest-like as in what TPS did with their Response (straightjacket) line?

Yes but the Velcro is at the side, not in the middle.

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Finally we see another NHL-spec shoulder cap! There needs to be more of these out there. Vest-like as in what TPS did with their Response (straightjacket) line?

The cool part is that the vest is like a jofa 8000 series pad with the perforations. Ironic, as I told JR last night that I would love to see something like an 8400 with caller caps.

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RS skate remains unchanged, however, a running change for the material on the inside top eyelets for prevent abrasion.

Ha, looks like I wasn't the only one having problems with that! I wonder if I'll get an updated pair as a replacement...

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Ha, looks like I wasn't the only one having problems with that! I wonder if I'll get an updated pair as a replacement...

I told Neil about your situation. Keep me posted as to how it was resolved.

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The updates to Shock Doctor products look interesting. Nothing radical, just improvements to their existing product line.

EvoShield has a lot of new hockey related products on the way. I was really impressed with the way they are handling the expansion into more hockey products. The shot blockers for skates look very promising.

WinnWell has new products on the way and have a lot of testing data on their new sticks. They used an "iron Byron" for the testing and based the numbers on realistic adult/older youth players and not guys like Chara or Shea Weber. They have singed a number of NHL players and will have a greater presence if/when the NHL resumes. They are also going to stock gloves in all of the colors they offer, not just make them available for booking orders. Very nice price points on some of them as well.

The Graf event last night was pretty cool, we ran into a few members there. The new skates look nice, though thanks to fedex, there was a limited number of skates available to try. We have a meeting with them later this afternoon, we'll get more info at that point. Dennis Wideman will be in the booth from 1-3 and was on the ice last night.

Tour has a lot of new product this year, with an updated look. Very nice product and the bags really stand out in a crowd.

A few more meetings and browsing around this afternoon and at least one meeting tomorrow. We are busier than I expected and while it isn't crowded, it's allowing dealers and manufacturers to have deeper conversations and not just rushing to get to the next meeting. Obviously, I would like to see more manufacturers here, but we have been very productive.

so the tongue on the Mako skate is no longer replaceable in the same way as it is on the MLX?

There was no mention of it being replaceable.

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Graf -

Graf is introducing a new line of skates - using their MCI Technology. What they have done is layering carbon fiber in different directions to create different stiffnesses in zones. The layer that starts at the third eyelet and goes towards the back of the skate is the zone that will come in three different stiffnesses, so the skate will be offered in 75, 85 and 95 flex, in every size. The two quarters are asymmetrical - the inside ankles are shifted forward to be more anatomically correct. It is then bound together to continue their distinct heel profile and forward lean. The exterior is coated with their V2 Surlyn to protect the carbon underneath. The padding is integrated into the liner, and is a complete piece, and then layered into the boot. What also is interesting about the liner is that the material behind the liner that goes on your foot is moisture-resistant so any moisture stays on the liner and does not seep into the boot. The liner is new - it almost feels like PoronXRD, however has a tiny bit of that fuzz feel to it - extremely comfortable.

The tongue is a thinner felt, and has heat-moldable material throughout the tongue.

The fit is distinctive - it has the profile of a x35 boot, however the Achilles channel down the middle is a tad bit wider than that model. They've essentially taken that boot and crossed it with the G75. Top model is the G9035; the G8035 has glass instead of carbon fiber, and the G7035 goes with a microfiber liner and EPP quarter construction. The line rounds out from 5035, 3035 to 1035.

The SRPP skates stay the same.

The classic series stays the same, however, the 705 and 709 no longer has the ribbed quarter - it's smooth like what is on the 703, and has a new liner as well, which is a microfiber.

For goalies, the new G9035 and G5035 are based off the player models. New yellow cowling is an option as well.

Sticks are the same, however, an XWhip 65 flex in adult length has been added to the lineup.

The gloves are unchanged other than new colorways. Protective stays the same.

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