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Netminder32

Eagle Sentry 2 Pro Goalie Pads

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Reviewer Specs:

Height: 5' 8"

Weight: 200lbs

Ankle to Knee: 17"-17.5"

Experience: 18 years rec and beer league

vs Shooters: rec to semi pro

Product Eagle Sentry 2 Pro Goalie Pads, sized 35"+3" pro spec 11" width.

The Order:

I requested Eagle's Sentry 2 Pro pads in sizing equivalent to a 34+3 Vaughn. Eagle recommended a 35+3. It appears they were right on the money. My knee is perfectly centred in the cradle. Other order specs included, single boot strap, all nylon leg straps, preformed "S" bend and black/antique gold weave/white jenpro finish (Penguins colours). Other than the sizing, there were no "special" mods requested. The order process was easy using the form available right on the Eagle website. I was informed the order would be 4-6 weeks, the pads actually arrived in 3, and off I went to JR's store to pick them up.

Initial Impressions:

The pads have a very thin profile. They appear to be approximately 1/2 the thickness of my Velocity's. They are pretty lightweight and appear exceptionally well constructed. There is a lot of customization availability built right into the pads as far as moving strap locations, customizing landing gear height, even moving the knee cradle if required. It looks like Eagle really went to the drawing board on these pads and made a whole lot of right decisions.

Things I like:

The overall appearance is phenomenal. I really like the embroidered eagles on the thigh board and calf wedge. I'm looking forward to testing a "true" flat face pad for the first time at any length. The leg channel is really clean and uncluttered. The landing gear is unusual and looks like it will be really comfortable. There is a nice foam "pillow" block that extends fully around the knee and halfway down the inner leg. The thigh board is fully laced and secure which is a great improvement over my old V1's. The inner boot box is smooth, firm and should allow for great rotation.

Things I dislike:

So far, only the logos. I'm a real fan of embroidered and stitched on logos. To me the "Eagle", "Sentry 2" and "Pro" heat transfer logos on the pad face cheapen the overall appearance of an otherwise finely crafted product. I know this doesn't affect the performance of the pads in any way, it's just my personal preference.

Conclusion:

While I'm pretty blown away so far, it is important to remember that these impressions are just from "looking" at the pads. We'll see how I feel after my first "on ice" experience with some new leg gear. I'm thinking there will be a slight adjustment period (kinda like a new pair of shoes) but I'm pretty optomistic at this point.

Pics:

I know, this is what you really are here for... :)

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Ice Session One:

As anticipated, there is going to be an adjustment period getting used to these pads. The pads are much more stiffer than I originally realized. They do not have the supple feel of my old velo's but rather an almost cardboard stiff feel to them and were not nearly as comfortable as I originally imagined they might be. There were a couple of areas which created a problem for me during the first go round.

1) The overly square toe. While I do understand why certain manufacturers choose to go this route it is not very effective in my opinion. These pads would have been better served by a 1" taper to the toe area. As you can tell from the photograph, this area of the pad came into contact with the ice quite frequently during the first game. With the stiffness of the pad facing itself it caused my skate to momentarily loose contact with the ice on several occassions. In the future I believe this is going to be an area of premature failure on the binding strip.

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2) The downward tapered toe. This was the single largest obstacle I faced in trying out the pads for the first time. I found that I am not going to be able to strap these pads the way a butterfly pad is traditionally tied due to the downward taper angle of the boot area of the pad. With most butterfly goalie pads you tie off approximately 3" of slack in the toe strings to allow your skate to shift within the toe box while performing a butterfly move. This prevents extensive strain on your knees/legs. With the aggressive downward taper of the boot area in these pads, having a 3" gap in your toe strings causes the pad to slide forward, down the toe of the skate boot to the extent of the 3" slack. To try to overcome this I am going to remove the 3" slack area of the toe ties and put the single boot strap through the heel opening of the skate rather than the centre opening. The other thing I noticed when I was on the ice is the pads never came back to or rested in a true centred position on my leg. If you were to look down while playing you would note the pads were always cocked to a postion facing slightly outward. I believe this to be caused in partial by the offset toe tie and in partial to the lack of a centred boot indent. At this point I have no idea how to overcome this obstacle.

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3) The landing gear. What I originally thought was going to be the most enjoyable part of using these pads turned out to be quite the opposite. Despite the appearance of having a very comfortable pillowed landing gear, the risers are very rigid instead of being a foam composition themselves and the knee pillow just wasn't enough to handle the job on it's own. In fact, I found that the looseness of the material created a chaffing effect and my knees were quite sore after the game. The knee pillow area itself could be easily corrected by four stitches in my estimation. If Eagle were to put a stitch down either side of the knee facing inline with the leg channel and one more below the inner knee they could create four distinct areas of cushioning while simultaneously restricting the movement of the external covering material. I firmly believe it was the bunching up of this covering material that was creating the abrasive area within the knee protection. Additionally, the use of foam knee stacks would alleviate the hard impact on the knee when performing a butterfly save.

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Other than these points, I didn't notice any distinct problem areas with the pads. They rotated nicely to create a wall when butterflying. The 11" width wasn't nearly the obstacle I initially figued it may be. The thigh boards performed well, staying with the knee preventing any potentially dangerous openings. The tops of the pads overlapped effortlessly when holding a crouch stance. In fact, that was probably the single largest impovement I enjoyed. The super thin thigh rises were a huge improvement over my old velo's. With a few adjustments we'll see how the pads perform after ice session two.

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Ice Session 2:

My second game in these pads was a much better experience. I decided that I would try to change things one at a time to see how to best adjust these pads to make them work for me and to see what works vs. what doesn't. It turns out that one adjustment seems to have alleviated many of the ailments.

My first attempt at changing how the pads would react was simply to put the boot strap through the heel opening in my skate cowling instead of the centre opening. My thinking being that by running the strap through the back of the skate I could prevent the pad from riding down the front of the boot. I left the 3" slack for the toe ties to allow for freedom of movement for the front of the skate. I tried it first by simply lacing/strapping my skate into the pad while at home and checking the range of motion of the skate boot. Everything seemed to work well off the ice so the only thing left to do was try it on the ice.

The on ice experience was a huge improvement. By simply restricting the forward movement of the pad everything fell into place. Obviously the pads didn't push out at the toe any longer but also returned to centre more easily after performing a butterfly AND unexpectedly, my knee no longer sloshed around in the cradle. There was no more chaffing and the landing gear didn't feel so harsh. I believe this could have been attributed to the pads sliding up on my knee when going down into a butterfly previously.

Overall a vast improvement by simply performing one adjustment. Again, the areas where the pads performed well the first outing were not of any concern. The pads rotated perfectly and formed a nice wall along the ice. Rebound control was predictable. The 11" width presented no problem. I'm pretty pleased with the way things are progressing. I did notice that there is a 1" taper to the toe area that I previously assumed to be square, however I'm still catching the corner on the left pad occassionally. I'm not really sure why, hopefully this section will form a bit as the pads break in. Now I just need to get used to the slightly different feel of the pads.

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Ice Session 3

After the initial success I had in moving the boot strap to the heel opening in the skate cowling I figured I'd venture forth to see if there was any further improvement to be had by simple adjustments. This time I tried removing the 3" slack on the toe ties to try to further improve the pads ability to return to a true flat posture following a butterfly save. As previously mentioned the pads have a tendency to form a kind of "V" when recovering from a butterfly position. If you were to look down at the tops of the pads you would see something like this "/ \" rather than "_ _". This is a rather drastic representation of course but you get the idea.

I decided to limit the movement of the skate to approximately 3/4" from the previous 3" of toe slack. I simply tied three consecutive knots in the toe lacing to create the appropriate gap. My concern was that the pads wouldn't create that nice wall effect in the butterfly with the skate movement too restricted. I've had bad experience in the past with pads that just refused to rotate fully, often only half rotating or falling back on the pad face (CCM Gatekeepers) but I was pleasantly surprised to find out these pads still created a 90 degree wall with the ice even with limited toe slack.

While the ability to butterfly wasn't hampered by this adjustment, the ability of the pads to return to a true flat wasn't improved either. I think that 3/4" to 1" toe slack is definitely the way to go when setting up these pads. It gives the pad a more secure feeling to your leg, however, it is not the cure for the lack of pad recovery. I'm really not quite sure what I can try next to improve this. It just seems to be inherent to the nature of the design of the pad.

As for the other previous problem with the overly square toe area and the left pad constantly coming in contact with the ice and lifting the skate, this seems to be taking care of itself. You can see where the foams are starting to break in and allow this area of the pad to flex slightly. This is a welcome relief. I was starting to think I might have to open up the pad and cut out a 1/2" wedge of foam. :o I don't know how the good people at Eagle might have reacted to that one.

My only other "problem" with the pad is the stiffness. I realize that this isn't really a problem but rather a preference, but, I find that I miss the flex of my Velo's. These pads still feel really boxy to me even after a few skates now. It may just be mental but I feel as though my movement is more robotic (rigid) in these pads and less fluid than I'm used to. Again, due to the nature of the design of these pads I don't see how Eagle could have done anything differently. With the extreme thin design of modern pads, there just isn't enough room to add more supple foams without sacrificing protection.

As with my previous reports, the areas where these pads perform well still continue to be strong points. The pads rotate effortlessly and form a beautiful 90 degree wall with the ice when down in a butterfly. I haven't had any further problems with the knee cradle since securing the boot strap through the heel opening of the cowling. The cradles support and comfort are ample. Rebound control is predictable and probably even better than my Velo's due to the flat knee. The one positive feature that I haven't mentioned previously is the "fireworks effect". These pads still draw ooh's and aah's whenever people see them.

Disclaimer:

Overall it has been a pretty good experience so far. You might not get that impression from these posts but that is only because it is so easy to focus on the negatives that you may lose sight of the positives. I just feel it is important to note that the little negatives I've been pointing out here are completely subjective and as JR can attest to I am really, really, really picky about my gear. (Which is probably why he asked me to do this review in the first place :) ) I really hope that anyone following this review isn't put off by my minor complaints about these pads. The truth of the matter is, I have tried MANY different brands and styles of pads over the years and have yet to find one that is "perfect". You see me comparing differences to my Velo's frequently and that is simply because they are the closest to perfect pad I have ever encountered for "me" but that doesn't mean they are that way for "you". Everyone has different preferences in all aspects of goalie pads which is why there are so many different companies out there making their own version of the perfect pad. I'm simply trying to present my findings so that when you decide to try your next pads you may be able to better determine exactly what will or won't work for you. Hopefully posts like this will help.

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Ice Session 4

For this skate I added an extra 1/4" to the toe ties (one more knot). Just for mental confidence. I figured the 3/4" might still be just a little bit to restrictive. It made no difference but like I mentioned previously, these pads had no rotation problem even with the 3/4" toe tie anyways.

The good news! It's starting to happen... I'm adjusting to the pads and they're adjusting to me. :) How do I know? As any of you out there who have ever broke in a new piece of gear can relate to, there comes a game when you stop noticing that you are wearing it. It's that whole, breaking in a set of new shoes feeling. Everything starts feeling natural and you just play your game. This was the game. Instead of being concious of the new pads all game and playing despite them, I caught myself thinking a couple times "oh yeah, I'm still wearing the new pads". What a great relief.

The only new thing I noticed this game was that the toe box area on the underside of the pad is starting to form an indent where the toe of the skate cowling meets it. This can only be a good thing as it will assist the pads in returning to a natural flush position when recovering from a butterfly. Otherwise, everything seems to be falling into place and the pads are really starting to grow on me. I think the most enjoyable feature that I'm finding so far is the predictable rebounds off the flat facing.

Next Friday, a goalie friend of mine who plays on the opposite rink from us has agreed to give them a test flight. I'm going to go back to my old Vaughns and get another opinion on the new Eagles for a game. It should be interesting since he is more of a stand up/hybrid style tender. I'm looking forward to hearing his views.

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Ice Session 5, The one that never happened... :(

Well you know the saying about "the best laid plans of mice and men"... I brought both sets of pads to the arena. I dressed for my game. I expected to see Mike strolling in right about the time I was ready to go on the ice. His ice time is 10:00pm ours is 9:30. But he wasn't there. Apparently his game was cancelled...

The only good that came out of all of this was, the goalie whom I normally oppose for this ice time was back after a long recovery from a lower back problem. His name is Monty and quite frankly he is my idol. He's in his early 60's and has a sizable girth to him but it never stops him from playing and he plays at an unexpected level. He literally surprises and impresses shooters less than half his age with his quickness and agility. Last season when I was starting to think the game had passed me by and I no longer belonged, it was his play and spirit that rekindled mine. Anyway, I had the chance to show Monty the new pads. Now he is another very knowledgeable old dog when it comes to goalie gear and he was pretty impressed when he saw the Eagles. He is another of the hybrid/stand up type goalies and he wears a little more traditional Vaughn Legacy pad so I was a little surprised when he said he'd like to try the Eagles as well. He gave them a good going over and was really impressed with the low weight and thin face design. He wasn't really blown away by the huge thigh rises I ordered but then again, he does play a more stand up style game. I'm going to bring both sets of pads to the rink again next Friday and see if Monty is up to taking the Eagles out for a test drive and giving his opinion on them. If not, it will be my next "on ice" update.

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Ice Session 6

Unfortunately Monty wasn't feeling up to par last game so he wore his Legacy's which gave me an opportunity to step back into the Eagles for another ice time. I can't believe the difference going back and forth between the two pads. Where the Velo's rotate and return effortlessly for me, the Eagles still continue to struggle. Not with the rotation, they do that like a dream. It's the recovery that is lacking. They still return to that / \ non centered, not flat configuration. While not drastic, it is disconcerting. I still am holding out hope that as the toe indent on the underside of the pad continues to form and deepen it will eventually correct this problem, it is taking a lot longer than I had hoped.

I also continue to find the knee cradle cushioning suspect. I had touched on this before. The knee stacks are overly firm and the cradle cushion simply isn't supple enough. As a result, I was in a situation which required me to stretch across the crease, splits style, to knock a puck out of the air with the paddle of my stick. Made a spectacular save, but hurt myself pretty good in the process. The inner knee on my trailing leg hit the ice hard. Hard enough that even with the knee cradle padding I managed to bruise my knee to the point where it actually swelled up just below the knee cap. For the balance of the game I was in so much pain I was forced to play a more stand up and paddle down style. I couldn't put any pressure what-so-ever on that knee. Now a couple days later I have an actual deep bruise there.

This was almost the last straw for me. As I hobbled around the house the next day I was tempted to return the pads to JR and discontinue my evaluation, but, I made a promise and I'm going to stick by it. Fortunately my Friday group is done for the summer now, I only have one more playoff game on Tuesday (which I'll be in the Velo's for) and not much more going on for the next couple weeks. This should give me some time to reassess the current status of the Eagles and see if maybe I can make any more modifications before winter hockey starts into full swing.

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Ice Session 7

I was fortunate enough to have been given the call to fill in a game for Monty last night. He had a meeting and couldn't make his regular ice time. This gave me an opportunity to give the Eagles another test flight before our winter hockey groups start to resume.

I decided I'd go into this ice time leaving everything exactly as it was. I'm starting to get the adjustments all pretty much dialed in to the point where I'm as comfortable with the pads as I can be without any mods. When I arrived in the dressing room an started unpacking, the Eagles once again drew a round of ooh's and aah's and a lot of questions. They never fail to impress on initial sighting. :) The goalie I was playing with, Ray, was another older stand up goalie like Monty. He gave the pads a good looking over and was really impressed with the slim lightweight design. Comparing to some old Brian's Altramax pads the difference must have appeared like night and day. Naturally his first question was "how do you move with those huge thigh rises?". To which I replied with a lengthy explanation on how the super thin thigh rises on these pads were amazing and how they allowed me to close off the five hole entirely etc... But enough of the dressing room chat.

This ice time with the Eagles was similar to my previous experiences. Not having made any changes I guess that was to be expected. I truly find the offset toe to be nothing short of a mistake. While I do realize how the concept came to be, I don't find the on ice function of the off set toe lives up to its billing. Rather it makes skating slightly more difficult as it makes the pads angle off awkwardly and it really is a hindrance in butterfly recovery. Before my next game I'm definitely going to make a slight modification to move the toe tie back to a more centered location.

The other problem which still remains is the knee cradle protection. I found once again that as the game progressed, my left knee especially was just taking a beating from the harsh landing pads. This was probably in part due to the bruise I received in that area last game but I still find the landing gear quite uncomfortable. I plan on making a slight modification to the landing gear before taking these pads out to the rink again. My plan as it stands right now is to take out two of the stiff knee stacks and replace them with one thicker, more supple, foam knee stack. Hopefully that one little mod will take care of the situation.

The only new problem I encountered this game was not a fault of the pads at all, but rather the ruling change. To date I've not noticed any real difference between the 11" and 12" width pads either good or bad. That is until last night. I had a shot come through my "d" and one of the opposing forwards in front of my net which originated from about the high face off circle area. It was a low blast and I butterflied to take away the bottom of the net. As it turns out the puck must have been 10.5" off the ice because it hit right on the outer roll and went straight up with just enough forward motion to carry it across the goal line. I couldn't believe it. This was a save with my old 12" pads! Just for the record. I now officially hate the new sizing rules. :(

My team went on to win the game regardless and otherwise I had another reasonably good outing with the Eagles. I'm still LOVING the huge, super thin, thigh rises and the rebound control of the flat facings. I'm even starting to feel very comfortable with the stiffer foam construction of the pads. If I can get my final two problem areas dialed in I might really become a big fan of these pads.

Just as a footnote to anyone else who might be interested in ordering these pads. Get the two boot straps! With my Vaughns I was accustomed to using one boot strap and simply putting it through the large centre opening in the skate cowling. It worked great and I never had to think twice about it. I found with the Eagles I had to use the strap through the smaller hole at the back of the skate cowling to keep the pad from sliding forward on the boot. But I need to keep that strap pretty loose to allow the pads to rotate. I feel with two boot straps, the one through the large centre opening would allow you to adjust more precisely for the pad slack while the second strap could be used through the heel opening specifically just to prevent the pad slide.

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Ice Session 8

This one gives a whole new meaning to "long term" review. :) With hockey season slowly starting to return to normal, I had the opportunity to get the Eagles on the ice for two back to back games on Friday. Game one was the normal Friday night group that Michelle and I actually assumed responsibility for this season. Essentially it is a pick up type extension of our Coed Naked Hockey summer league. Game two was a group that I once played for and have been asked to return to for this season.

As promised, it was time to start with the modifications to improve the playability of these pads. First off, a minor mod. I removed one knee stack on each pad to remove some of the bulk I found in the area between the knees. Initially I was concerned that this might further the knee pain I was experiencing butterflying with these pads. That wasn't the case at all though. Upon a much closer inspection of the knee stacks I found the material used within them was the same as the Vaughns, just slightly thinner. Which prompted me to take a closer look a the stuffing of the knee cradle. I found the Eagles had approximately half as much foam stuffing as my Velo's which is more likely the real reason for the knee pains. Removing one knee stack in each pad made for a significant improvement in the overall performance of the pads. I found them to be much more maneuverable when skating and even slightly more comfortable when butterflying.

The other modification I made was the much overdue relocation of the toe ties. I didn't want to make any modifications to these pads that couldn't easily be reversed or that would leave any imperfections, so I was pretty pleased to see how well the existing holes lined up for a quick swap. Ideally you would want to drop a hole through the pad facing to create the new hole in line with the existing holes, however, in a pinch this method works fine too. I found that the stitch hole for the binding strip on the pad front lined up pretty well with the underside hole for the restraining lacing for the pad foams. (see pix) So I simply routed a very tiny drill bit from one hole to the other and cleaned a pathway through the foams to route the toe tie string. I used incrementally larger bits to clear the path until the string could be snaked through. The result was a pretty well centred toe tie that could be returned to the offset position with no visible extra holes.

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On the ice this toe tie modification performed very well. I was able to completely correct the odd /\ alignment of the pad facings and they returned to a normal -- flush position when recovering from the butterfly everytime. Additionally the toe tie relocation eliminated the odd feeling when skating in these pads. Before this mod they always seemed to feel awkward to skate in as they settled in an angled off position. Now, they perform in a truly natural manner.

Overall I would say that both of these minor modifications made significant improvements to the performance of the pads. The only other modification which is still required is to add some more foam to the knee cradle to absorb the ice impact when butterflying. That having been done I would say the pads are as good as they could possibly be. Perfect? No, of course not. No pad is, but I would definitely have to say these Eagles would rank at the upper end of the spectrum.

Summary: If you are planning on ordering a pair of Sentry 2's

1) get the two boot straps

2) ask for the toe ties to be centred not offset

3) ask for extra foam stuffing in the knee cradle

4) personal preference, I like the preformed "S"

5) personal preference, I like a +2 to +3 thigh rise

6) personal preference, if you don't "need" 11" pads, get the 12"

Pluses:

1) I LOVE the super thin thigh rises for easy crossing

2) the flat knee facing offers predictable/controllable rebounds

3) the thin profile, light weight construction eases fatigue

4) the workmanship and materials quality is truly on par with what is expected of a "pro" pad

5) appearance, damn nice looking pad :)

6) and let's face it, this means a lot. They're MADE IN CANADA.

Negatives:

1) sheet foam vs shred foam in the construction which makes the pad extremely stiff

2) more foam required in the knee cradle

3) offset toe causes pads to not return to a flush facing

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Ice Session 9, 10, 11, 12, etc, etc,….

The Eagles have landed … again. :D

As any of you who have been following this thread may have noticed, the Eagles were on a sabbatical recently. I was finally able to hook up with my friend Mike and get the Sentry’s to him for some serious use. Mike is a much younger, more fit goalie and spends a whole lot of time on the ice between teaching goalie camps and his league play. He plays a hybrid/standup style of game (call it Western Canada goaltending), so he has a different set of parameters for a pad than I might. I thought this would be great opportunity to get a different view on the new Eagles. So here’s it goes….

Reviewer Specs:

Height: 5' 9"

Weight: 170lbs

Ankle to Knee: 17.5"

Experience: let’s just say “tons”

vs Shooters: rec to semi pro

Initial Impressions:

Mike normally wears 35” BHG (Brian Heaton Goalie) Eyelite 10’s with an open leg channel. They are a more traditional styled pad and compare similarly to the CCM/Heaton 10’s of recent time. When he first saw the Eagles he was pretty blown away with just how thin and light the new Sentry pads are. He loved the overall appearance and couldn’t wait to try the NHL spec 11” width and 38” overall height. His current BHG’s are a 12” width so he’ll be forced to move into the 11’s next season.

Things he liked:

Mike was impressed with the new NHL 11” spec sizing. He said it felt much easier to move around in the pads. He liked the nylon leg straps with the quick connects. He was equally impressed with how light the pads were on the ice as he was with them off the ice. He liked the fact the leg channels could be easily removed because they are just laced in. He wears an open leg channel on his pads but since he was just trying these pads out he left the leg channel in place.

Things he disliked:

Well, like I said, Mike plays standup so the first thing to go was the thigh boards. Not necessary for his style I guess. Additionally he disliked the clutter inside the leg channel. He has his BHG’s set up like an older Koho pad with the wide open leg channel. He didn’t like the big thigh rises as he said the pads always seemed to get caught up on each other. Lastly, he HATED the offset toe, and that was even after I had set the toe ties to a more central location. His biggest beef was the fact the pads would always move out to the sides as the skate settled into the offset boot channel.

Conclusion:

After many sessions Mike was pretty happy to be back in his old pads. His experiment with the new style gear just confirmed his suspicions that they weren’t for him. He felt the pads didn’t respond naturally and were too stiff compared to his old school styled gear. I asked them if he would recommend them to other goalies that play his style he simply said “I’m pretty sure I feel the same way as you about these pads”. (I think that's bad... :o )

The Story:

Mike called me up and asked if I was still doing a review on the Eagles and if he could still try them out. I said “I was” and that he was more than welcome to try them out as long as he was willing to let me know his thoughts on them when he was done with them. I told him I’d rather if he took them for a few weeks to get a feel for them rather than using them once or twice and simply not liking them because they felt different than he was used to. He said that would be no problem since his goalie camp was starting up and he’d be on the ice several times a week. So we set up a time for him to stop by and pick them up.

When he arrived I went over a few of the details of the pads with him but was careful not to say anything that might sway his opinions of the pads one way or the other. He gave the pads a serious looking over, tied off about 4” of slack in the toe knots and joked about "how I could play with the toe knots tied off so close to my skates" and proceeded to unlace the thigh boards saying “well we won’t be needing these” and with that he was off.

I didn’t talk to Mike much over the next few weeks. In fact, I was kind of relieved the Eagles were gone. I got to go back to playing in my old Velo’s and not having to worry about trying to make the pads I was playing in work for me. Yes, it felt good to get back to my old 12” wide, soft as butter, butterfly like a dream and actually return pads…

The weeks eventually went by and JR must have been getting curious as to what exactly was happening with my long term write up. He mentioned that he ran into the people from Eagle at the One Goal Hockey show (which I had to miss, but that’s another story) and they wanted to get together to discuss the pads. I think that they are working on some modifications of their own they might want me to try out to put into the next model Sentry 2 pad. But I digress, I told JR that I had my friend Mike putting the Eagles through their paces and that I’d have a supplementary write up to put on the ModSquadHockey board. So I called Mike and asked him if he was through with the Sentry’s as I was going to have to step back into them so that I could keep the on ice trial going. He said he was and dropped them off to me later that week.

When he dropped them off we sat down and I had Mike go through his impressions of the pads with me. Again, with me carefully avoiding mentioning my experiences so as not to skew his responses. He mentioned that his biggest beef with the pads was the fact that they would not return flush. In fact occasionally he’d notice that during the game the pads would just settle off to the outsides. He also found the pads always wanted to move off the front of his skates. He said he had to shorten up the toe ties to alleviate this condition and mentioned that he now knew why I had mine tied off so short. Additionally he found the huge thigh rises to be a big problem when he was moving around in the crease. They would continuously catch on each other. The things he did like about the pads were the surprising difference the 11” width made, he felt like he was much more mobile in the net, and the significantly lighter weight. He mentioned that he thought it was even more noticeable on the ice during his clinics after hours working with the young goalies his legs weren’t as fatigued as they would usually be.

In the end, while appreciative of having the opportunity to test fly the new Eagles, Mike was pretty sure he would be sticking to his BHG’s for his new pads in the spring.

**Just a footnote: I would like to point out that it was my specification for the +3 thigh rises on these pads. The stock Sentry’s would not likely have any binding problem while moving about in the crease the way these ones did. I play a more butterfly style of game and appreciate the extra 5 hole coverage that the additional height on the thigh rise provides.

With that, it looks like I’ll be lacing the thigh boards back in and going back to the Eagles for my game this weekend. Stay tuned for updates. ;)

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The Final Skate… :(

I really feel as though I’ve gone as far as I possibly can with this long term review. The only thing I really haven’t uncovered are any durability issues and I’m positive that durability wouldn’t be an issue as the materials and workmanship in these pads are all top notch. I’ve modified the pads as much as I feel comfortable doing without creating any changes that I couldn’t easily undo. And since these pads have to go back…I'm not about to start any major surgery.

I had a 1.5hr pick up game this past Saturday so I took the Eagle’s out for one final flight. I figured with the annual MSH game coming up I would try to see if it was possible to play in these pads with hopes of using them at the game, but it just isn’t meant to be. Quite simply, these pads just don’t work for me. While I did have a decent game, keeping it close all night, it was in spite of the Sentry’s, not because of them. Early on in the game I found my knees were hurting quite bad again from the harsh impact of the landing gear and I was having to keep one leg upright while only using my other along the ice just to alleviate the soreness. After having my Velo’s on for the past few weeks and coming back into the Eagles again, it was a no brainer for me to figure out which pads I’d be using at the MSH game. The Eagle’s are simply too stiff and uncomfortable for me on the ice. So this will be my final report and I’ll be dropping off the Eagle’s to JR while I’m over in Novi.

In keeping with this forum’s format for evaluating products here is the “exit recap” for the Eagle Sentry Pro 2’s:

Fit:

The pads fit great. Eagle leaves a whole lot of user adjustability in the design of these pads making it virtually impossible for them not to fit anything less than perfect. The strap positions are moveable, the leg channel is moveable, the landing gear is moveable, knee stacks are thin and can be combined in any number, all to give you just the right fit. Combined with the ability to custom order preformed or straight and your thigh rise and ankle to knee measurements exactly to your liking…how much better could it get?

10/10

Protection

The protection in the pads is perfect. Considering how thin the facing is, I never felt an uncomfortable shot through the pads. The thigh boards are fully laced across the width of the pad and remain true and the inner leg calf wedge protection extends all the way down to the bottom of the skate. In all the time I used these pads, no pucks got through to any unprotected gaps.

10/10

Weight

Eagle went to great lengths to keep the weight of these pads to a minimum. Things like the thin facings and the thinnest thigh rises I’ve ever seen have created one of the lightest pads on the market. I honestly don’t believe you could make a pad any lighter and still offer the protection of these pads.

10/10

Durability

During the entire time I’ve had these pads in my possession I haven’t noticed even the slightest breakdown in the materials. In fact, the pads still look pretty much new. Eagle only used the highest quality materials and workmanship in these pads and it clearly shows. I couldn’t see the durability being any less than far above average even after years of use. I don’t think there was even a stitch out of place anywhere on these pads.

10/10

Intangibles

For me, this is where everything falls flat. Despite literally amazing advances in pad design, these pads do not perform well at all. In my opinion, the foams are too rigid giving a "plank strapped to the leg" type of feeling. I would have preferred to see these pads manufactured with a shred foam type of stuffing permitting for more axial bending and allowing them to follow your leg movement more naturally. I would have definitely liked to have seen a little more landing gear padding as my knees took a beating butterflying in the Sentry's. I would have also preferred to see more of a taper on the inner toe area to facilitate in shuffling, skating and leading the pad into the butterfly more naturally. My biggest beef of course is the offset toe. This was just an outright error in my opinion. I would have liked to have seen a more traditional butterfly toe lacing set up with a deeper, level and centred boot channel. The final intangible that I must note is the appearance. Contrary to the way they perform, these pads are real show stoppers in the looks department. If they only played well as they looked they would have no doubt been an huge success with, at the very least, everyone that I showed them to. My only knock on the appearance is that I would have preferred to have seen embroidered or stitched on logos instead of the heat transfers. Sticker logos just look cheap to me.

4/10

Conclusion

Eagle has some work to do to make this pad a little more user friendly, but based on what they have to work with right out of the starting blocks, it won’t take much to create an all around crowd pleasing product. Would I buy a pair? Definitely not. They simply do not work for me. Would I recommend them?…Again no, for the same reason. Would I buy them if they had the few improvements I’ve suggested done to them?…IN A HEARTBEAT! These pads have the potential to be the Velocity killer. If the folks at Eagle manage to work in the feel of a Velo with their innovation…look out goalie world!

Overall: 8/10

In closing I would just like to extend a heartfelt "Thank You", First to JR for giving me the opportunity to experience these pads and talk about my opinion of them on his message board. Second, to the good people at Eagle for putting their product out there and letting it go through some "real life" testing. It's really inspiring to see a company stand behind their product the way Eagle does. I haven't really been a cheerleader for this product and the folks at Eagle have listened and even encouraged the critisism of their product. This is definitely a company moving in the right direction. I look forward to seeing the products that come out of their factory in the near future... ;)

I hope it has been as informative for all of you who have been following this review as it has been for me in living it. As always...watch for more to come. :D

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