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Santos L Halper

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Everything posted by Santos L Halper

  1. Agreed. Every time I see one in a kid's bag, I tell the parents to throw it away. Too many people think they're a substitute for skate sharpening.
  2. Thanks. Too bad my kid's wide feet won't work with Jetspeeds. Looks like you'll probably be replacing holders for him at some point...
  3. Anyone have any information as to when CCM will be releasing the new SB XS holder to the retail market? It's almost new skate time for my kid and I'd prefer NOT to have to deal with the inherent problems of either the SB 4.0 or the Tuuk Lightspeed systems again.... ________________________ N.B. I'd totally go with Step holders, but I can't seem to find those anywhere except for on True skates....
  4. Given OP's pictures and where the actual 'taper' seems to be happening, I would not be at all surprised if the repeated (over)use of one of these lovely items was the primary cause of this phenomenon...
  5. The only thing I'd say here is to take some time to seriously consider what you want to get out of this surgery. After the stitches are gone and all of the PT and rehab are over, what do you want your life to look like? What do you want to be able to DO? Is it enough to just live pain free with 'normal' activity? Or, do you really want to be able to play hockey? Run a marathon? Climb the Grand Teton? Go skiing? Figure out what you really want, then sit down and talk to your surgeon about what he believes he can deliver. Then, if you don't like what you hear from your current doc, find another one and talk to him/her about what YOU want. Put differently, if playing hockey is something you REALLY want to do after this surgery (and I can't imagine why you wouldn't...) don't blindly accept, "well, I'm not sure we'll be able to get you back on the rink after this..." without getting at least ONE second opinion...preferably from someone that has NO knowledge of your situation and is starting from scratch. It's your damn back and your damn life, after all. It's not the same, but my mom has dealt with progressively worsening back issues for years. As I write this, she's about 5 weeks out of her 4th back surgery and is finally standing up straight for the first time in years. Unfortunately for her, she didn't go into her first surgery with a clear idea of what she wanted out of it and wound up with a surgeon that was content to deliver 'good enough for occasional walks around the neighborhood', when my mom wanted 'I'd like to be able to kayak and snowmobile and roughhouse with my grandson.' 7 years, 3 surgeries, and a different doctor that knew how to ask the right questions later, we may finally be getting somewhere. Finally, best of luck to you. Back surgery can be awful...but it can also be effing life-changing!!!
  6. Have become curious about this myself... With the resounding success (right? I mean...I think so? It's been hugely successful, right?) of the Sparx machine, you'd think that the company would want to capitalize on the goodwill in the marketplace right now and revisit some of the corners they undoubtedly had to cut (be it in design, production, whathaveyou...) to get into production. Since they're dealing with a (relatively speaking) closed audience of potential buyers, I suspect that eventually they're going to reach something of a saturation point where most people that are willing to purchase a skate sharpener will have done so; and, as a result, sharpener sales will fall off. Sure, they have the built-in recurring revenue from grinding ring sales, but I can't imagine the per-unit margin on those is all that high. Eventually, they're going to want to convince some of their existing customers to buy another machine...and to do that, they're going to have to give them a reason to do so. Wonder what that's gonna be...?
  7. I'd just like to point out that this sort of thing really won't work for True/VH skates - simply because of the custom, hand-made, one-of-a-kind nature of the product. My Trues could weigh substantially more (or less...) than another pair of Trues and still use the same size blade holders; simply because my unique fit situation may require more (or less) carbon weave than someone else's. Just food for thought....
  8. Hehehe...I intentionally neglected to ask that. But since you went there..... My feelings as a skating coach regarding the wisdom of purchasing custom skates for young skaters are well documented in this thread. For those that don't want to scroll through 160-odd pages of posts, put simply, I believe that, barring a significant physiological concern that can only be addressed by a custom product, ANY custom skates are a complete waste of money for youth players whose bodies (and feet) are still growing and developing. If a kid is still pre-pubescent and doesn't have a glaring 'fit issue', then, why on earth would anyone spend $800US (or more...) on a pair of skates that won't fit for longer than 6 months? To my economical (read: cheap-assed) nature, it just doesn't make sense. However, in the end, whether it's OP's money or another parent's, they can spend it however they want. If only custom will do, then you can't go wrong with True....but at least go into it with eyes open....they're gonna be heavy and they won't fit next year!
  9. True skates are heavy. There is no getting around it. You say you knew this going in, yet are surprised? Not entirely sure I understand that.... Anyway. If you're asking 'why' they're heavier, it's mostly because the entire True boot is made of heat-moldable carbon fiber weave, while skates from Bauer and CCM use thermoformable composite plastics. True's carbon weave is MUCH stronger than the plastics used in other skates...but it's also quite a bit heavier. Also, steel makes a big difference - particularly now that all True skates ship with Step holders and Step runners. For all of its wonderful qualities, Step is notoriously heavy steel. In the end, there is absolutely a trade-off; comfort, protection, and performance vs. weight. Is it worth it? The answer to that will necessarily vary from player to player. For me, it's worth it. For 68 NHL players, it's worth it. For your son? Only he can answer that.... ________________________ N.B. By way of comparison, my Trues with a size 272 Step holder and Step Blacksteel runners are 21.8% heavier than my old Bauer TotalOnes... ________________________ Edit: Many people have fit issues (Haglund's Deformities, unusual foot geometry, flat or high arches, bunions, extreme pronation, etc....) that make off the shelf retail skates a virtual impossibility. For them, even the lightest skates on the market would feel like they weighed a metric shit-ton, simply because they'd be so damn uncomfortable. When the choice becomes a skate that weighs more vs not being able to play at all, most people will choose to deal with a few extra grams....
  10. Oh god....car manuals. Ain't that the truth? My wife's Audi has all of these fancy sensors and automated systems which are detailed in the owner's manual with constant use of the phrase, "within the limitations of the system..." My reaction, of course, is "Ooh, there's yet another effort to avoid a lawsuit!" Look, I get that Sparx is a (relatively) new company, and I get how such a company has to weigh the risk of expensive lawsuits and negative media (social and otherwise) exposure against the desire to provide a fully functional product to their customers. Hell, back when I owned my business, I constantly wrestled with whether or not to even SELL a certain class of products, because I couldn't control how my customers would ultimately market it to THEIR customers. However, in the end, I did my best to give MY customers what they wanted and sold them the products and documented the shit out of all the inherent caveats. I just wish Sparx would do the same.
  11. Oh, I know. And, don't get me wrong, all things considered, I love the machine. This is just one of those issues that prevent the Sparx from being what I would consider the perfect solution for those of us that live in 'sharpening deserts' and have neither the time nor the inclination to master a manual sharpening system.
  12. Okay. So. One genius ignores the safety literature, ignores the flashing light on his machine, and proceeds to fill his sharpening room with smoke. As a result, the company completely discontinues a hugely functional part of their machine. Talk about throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water.... My kid's remote control truck's LiPo batteries can explode if charged incorrectly. The company that manufactures the batteries and chargers didn't stop selling them as a result of some dipshit starting his garage on fire - they included a warning in the literature. You don't read the instructions, sometimes you get to pay the damn price. At some point we, as a society, need to stop protecting people from their own stupidity.
  13. Perhaps you can summarize for us. The only thing that I recall seeing is some vague notion that it clogged up the air filter 'too quickly'...whatever that means.
  14. I don't disagree. But, that's kinda my point. It'd take a bunch of passes to get rid of this little nick/gouge...and this is one that really doesn't matter that much. If you have a bunch of nicks like that...or a bigger nick...then, what do you do?
  15. He's currently working with the folks from Marsblade to try to dial all of that in. Aside from making sure that he has a sharpen that he's happy with, I kinda need to stay out of it. Also, I don't profile skates....
  16. This.....THIS is why Sparx discontinuing their consumer cross-grinding ring is such complete and utter horseshit. Apologies for the crappy phone pic, but this is my kid's friend's Step Blacksteel blade. This gouge in the blade, which would take maybe 4-5 passes to get rid of with a cross grind would take probably 20-25 passes to grind completely out with a 'regular' grinding ring. At $60/pop (plus shipping) for a grinding ring, it would honestly cost me less to take the skate up to my local big box retailer and have them grind it out than it would to grind it myself....which COMPLETELY defeats the purpose of having a skate sharpener at home.... Seriously, Sparx guys, I KNOW you monitor this forum. It is patently ridiculous that this is happening. Bring back the damned cross-grinding ring.
  17. No idea on shipping or anything related to the production aspects of Marsblade. I asked my buddy about that and he said that the Marsblade people told him that whatever profile a skater is currently using likely won't work when s/he moves to the Marsblade holder, so they took what he has on his standard holders and adapted that for the Marsblades. Now, what exactly that means, I can't tell you - I'm just the guy that sharpens skates!
  18. From what I could gather with the thing sitting in pieces on my workbench, there are no user adjustable options; but I could be wrong. I will ask my friend what 'adjustments' Marsblade makes and see if he was able to gain any insight.
  19. I got my first hands-on look at a Marsblade ice holder and blade combination early this week - figured I'd post my thoughts for those that might be interested, as this concept has generated a fair bit of interest both here and elsewhere.... First off, by way of background, the holders (and the skates they're attached to) are not mine. They belong to a buddy of mine who is one of Marsblade's first investors. He received a set of Marsblades and a set of spare runners from Per last week and asked me to sharpen them over the weekend. As they are not on my skates, I DID NOT SKATE ON THEM. I just sharpened the runners. My buddy skated on them in an extremely high level (no...really...almost all former NHL players) pick up session on Sunday night and his comments are at the end of this post. Before I get to that, here are my thoughts based on some bench time with the holders/runners. (N.B. I didn't have express permission from Per or my buddy to take/post any pictures, so I cobbled together a quick diagram of the chassis/blade combo in MS Word. Hopefully this helps illustrate how these things work. Any questions, please ask and I'll do my best to explain/clarify...) Anyway... They're freaking heavy...AND bulky My buddy's skates are Nexus 2Ns, which aren't the lightest things in the world...add the Marsblades, and they're approaching my Trues in heft (928g for his Nexuses w/Marsblades vs 987g for my Trues with Step holders and runners -- both size 272 holders). I know, I know...don't skip leg day. But, if minimizing the amount of weight you're lugging around the ice is high on your priority list, then Marsblades are likely not for you. Also, the way these things work necessitates a pretty bulky construction. The "towers" (part that is mounted to the boot) are pretty standard. Where they get hefty is towards the bottom. See, the blade itself is integrated into a plastic chassis that then fits into the holder. As such, the slot in the holder is about twice the width of one on a non-Marsblade holder, giving the whole thing a bit of a 'bloated' appearance and feel. Given the movement designed into the Marsblades, I can't see how they could have designed the holder to be more streamlined, but there is significant bulk inherent in the system that I guess I wasn't anticipating. They don't 'move' anywhere NEAR as much as I thought they would...and the whole assembly is much 'tighter' than I anticipated Given the premise of Marsblades, I figured they'd be somewhat 'teeter-totter-ish'. They're not. At all. They actually move very little - a total of maybe 1/8" to 1/4" of total travel is possible under hand pressure. Additionally, the way they're designed, there's a limit as to how much they can actually move, so under a skater's body weight, they might move a BIT more, but not a hell of a lot more. Also, it takes a fair bit of effort to get them to move much at all - which is definitely by design. The flex/movement response is designed to be progressive - meaning the more the skater pushes (either forward or backward), the more the holder slides up (or down) the chassis/blade combo. Put differently, it's not like these things are slamming forwards and backwards in their holders. They're very tight and the movement is surprisingly subtle. Once I took the Marsblades apart, I discovered that there is a composite 'bar' that forms the basis of the rocking system. When the skater leans forward, the chassis rocks forward into the toe of the holder - that motion is controlled and, ultimately, limited by the flexing of the bar against a spacer bolt that goes through the entirety of the holder and chassis. Same on the back of the skate. The design is truly ingenious, as the only part that really 'moves' is the blade/chassis assembly - which is really only two pieces (bar and chassis). There are no gears to strip, no levers to break, and no channels to wear out. The composite bar is likely subject to wear, but it seems extremely robust and, should it weaken or fail, it can be replaced. Here's my MSWord diagram to (hopefully) illustrate this whole concept... Anyway. Moving on. There's a bunch of hardware involved and they're a total pain to work on The blade/chassis combo is held into the holder by 4 spacer bolts that go through the whole assembly from the lateral side. Each of the spacer bolts is then held in with a machine screw that is secured from the medial side of the skate. Yep. It's like a CCM SB holder on steroids - FOUR freaking bolts per holder!!! Anyway. In between each of the machine screws and the blade holder, there is a clear silicone washer (just wait until you drop those little bastards....) with no discernible purpose, as the screws are designed to bottom out in the spacer bolts, preventing over tightening. (Marsblade provides a tool (hex wrench on one end, spacer-pusher on the other) that will help you take them apart, but you'll need to provide your own flat-head screwdriver (or another hex wrench) to add preventative torque, or the spacers will just spin around in their holes when you try to loosen the screws.) Anyway. Getting the blade chassis out of the holder requires removing all four screws and pushing the spacer bolts out of the assembly. Then, you get to find somewhere safe to keep track of the spacer bolts, the screws, and the four teeny, CLEAR silicone washers. Once all the hardware is out, the blade/chassis slides out of the holder with relative ease and the composite rocker bar falls out of the chassis and on to the floor. Of course. Aside from making sure you have the blade/chassis combo going the correct direction (half notch goes towards the toe) and remembering to put the rocker bar in to the slot on the chassis, putting them back together is just the opposite of taking them apart. However, you have to put the two middle spacers (and corresponding screws) in first, because those control the positioning of the blade/chassis assembly in relation to the other bolt holes. Yet another thing to remember as you're working on these things. Again, you can't over tighten anything because the screws bottom out before they get too tight, so you just screw everything back together and proceed on your merry way. Honestly, no one part of working on the Marsblades is particularly difficult, but taken all together, it IS a pain. There are too many small parts and they all need to fit together just so. In an ideal world, you'd really want to be working on these on a bench in good lighting and without being in a hurry. Any other situation, you're risking forgetting or losing something...and I can't even imagine trying to work on these in a player's bench setting. Put differently, if you get Marsblades, be aware that you're not going to be doing any blade changes between shifts....or, most likely, between periods. They're just too damn complicated and have too many teeny parts that will undoubtedly find their way into the graveyard of missing critical parts. I presume Marsblade has spare parts...and I recommend anyone that gets them have access to plenty, because unless you're being REALLY careful, you're likely to lose something. The steel SUUUUUUUUCKS...and is not replaceable I mention this because there is no other option. Since the chassis/blade combo is one integrated unit and the steel itself is not removable, you're kinda stuck. There are no third-party replacement runners available and, given the proprietary nature of the chassis/blade combo, I can't see how there ever will be. If Marsblades catch on, perhaps this will change, but as it stands right now, if you want Marsblades, you have to get Marsblade steel. The runner is made of your garden variety stainless which burrs terribly and doesn't hold an edge well. Which, if we're being honest, isn't all that different from stock steel on a mid-level skate from either of the major skate manufacturers. However, since you have to pay a hefty premium to get Marsblades in the first place, it'd be nice if the steel didn't suck. On ice review - again, from my friend So, just so we're clear, my friend played more than 500 games in the NHL. I mention this simply because his experience with the Marsblades is colored by HIS past and HIS ideas of how skates should work FOR HIM, and a novice skater/average beer leaguer is likely to have a very different experience than he had. Plus, this was ONE skate on what amounts to a prototype, so it is safe to say that once the kinks are worked out and full production begins, a great many things could change. As such, all of the opinions that follow need to be taken with the appropriate grain of salt. Anyway. Long story short, it was a struggle for him. Here are some quotes: "I felt off balance the entire time and was WAY too far back on my heels" "I was digging into the ice on every turn and couldn't keep any speed" "I felt like there was too much blade on the ice" "I wound up moving back to defense - it felt like I couldn't keep up as a forward" As a result of his feedback, I re-sharpened them yesterday, taking him from a 1/2" flat bottom radius (Fire ring on the Sparx) down to a 5/8" flat bottom radius; and the folks at Marsblade are going to make some adjustments to his holders and he is going to try them again. Should there be anything noteworthy to report after his next time on the ice, I'll post a follow-up. Final Thoughts Though the Marsblade concept is still super interesting and seems to be based on relatively sound science, the execution kinda makes the whole thing feel a little "gimmicky" to me. In the end, they are heavy, bulky, and there are too many pieces to lose. Now then, I'm aware that this is essentially a prototype and much could change before the final production models are rolled out, but I simply can't see how a great deal of what Marsblade is trying to do here can't otherwise be accomplished by profiling your steel. A good profile can control the amount of steel that is ultimately on the ice and also control your pitch...and do so without adding a layer of complexity that the average hockey player (IMHO, anyway) doesn't need or want. To me, the best use of the Marsblade concept remains making a rollerblade 'feel' more like an ice blade. Time, of course, will tell if I'm right....
  20. Significantly? No...not really. For me, the primary benefit of taping the toe is that it gives just a bit of extra friction to assist with toe-drags and other stick-handling voodoo. If I'm being honest, I need all the help I can get in that arena....
  21. Got it. My apologies. I wasn't aware of the Sports Excellence exclusive blades. You mentioned carbon steel, so I thought you were referring to the LS5; which is marketed as 'carbon steel', but is, in actuality, also a coating. Based on the description you provided, what you're looking at appears to be almost purely cosmetic. Or, put differently, those runners are black solely for the sake of being black. Which is ridiculous. All of my other points are still germane: Stock steel from the major skate manufacturers is largely crap - including this black powder-coated stuff; Buy the skates that fit your feet and budget best, without regard to the steel that the manufacturer/retailer chooses to put on them. Then, if you're so inclined, change the blades. There are companies out there that make REALLY good replacement blades; Coated steel isn't a panacea. Though it CAN hold a edge longer than uncoated steel, that edge can be brittle; and Even with coated steel, you still have to sharpen your skates regularly.
  22. Completely understand where you're coming from with this and I don't necessarily disagree. That said, the central point of the True skate is that it IS customizable for different skaters' needs/wants, so I don't think you can definitively put a 'weight threshold' on the applicability of shot blockers to an individual skater. I (6'1", 225) don't have the shot blockers in mine and am very happy with the stiffness. A guy I coach with (6'4", about 240) is on his second pair of True skates. He didn't have the shot blockers on his first pair but does on this pair...and is MUCH happier with his second pair than he was with his first because he felt like the first wasn't quite stiff enough. Different strokes and all that...
  23. Agree on the tongue. Thing about the shot blockers, they make the skates stiffer - particularly laterally. If you're a heavier player and want/need that extra support (or just like an extremely stiff boot...), they might be worth the extra weight.
  24. *emphasis added* Yes, actually they are available for replacement purchase. Check 'em out here... You are correct in your assumption that the 'black' is a coating. Per the description: Soft inner core stainless steel offers enhanced edge quality and sharpness Carbon-coated for premium edge retention and bite properties Coming from someone that sharpens skates (but hasn't run across this particular blade yet...) I can tell you that these coatings can be nice...but they aren't, in any way, a panacea. They harden the outside of the steel, which, in general, keeps your skates sharper longer. However, since the edges ARE harder, they can be more difficult to get sharp in the first place...and, depending on the specific nature of the coating and the steel, the final edge tends to be somewhat brittle - meaning that instead of the edge 'rolling over' when you bang your blade into the post or the boards, the tip of the fang can actually break off at the point of impact, giving you that 'oh shit, I totally blew an edge!' feeling. For me, however, the biggest issue with the coatings is that some people use TiN or Carbon coated blades as an excuse to not get their skates sharpened regularly - meaning that, every month or so, they bring me a pair of extremely dull, nicked up blades that are hard to sharpen and a bitch to deburr without a stone...which, of course, you're not supposed to use on coated blades. These people get charged extra....
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