How to Choose the Right Hockey Stick Blade
Blades come in either wood, carbon fiber or a combination of both. Wood blades will offer the most feel and responsiveness however it does not perform like carbon and is heavier. A carbon blade will offer the highest performance and lightest weight but will suffer in feel. However, advancements in the core and carbon thicknesses are closing the gap. A blade that is a combination of both tries to marry the best aspects of each.
What the Pros Use
Majority of pros use one of two patterns. The most widely used is a slight to medium heel curve that is open and has a round toe. This offers a large flat surface which creates a big sweet spot for off center shots, big slap shots, deflections and one-timers since you have a better chance at getting more “wood on it”. The open toe allows them to get the puck up quick from the slot to pick the top corners and aids in chipping the puck up quickly in scrambles in front of the net. The second pattern is a medium mid cure that is open with a round toe. This helps to sling the puck for added velocity on wrist shots and snap shots. The mid curve is better for stickhandling and dangling around defensemen.
The curve is the first blade aspect you will want to decide on. Blades curve in three spots; Heel, Middle and Toe.
Heel Curve – Heel curves are most popular with players who take mostly slap shots, one-timers and like to sit in front of the net and deflect pucks. Since the blade curves at the heel it creates a large flat surface which creates a big sweet spot for off center shots. Defensemen will reap the benefits when they are being pressured at the point and need to get the puck on net. It will also help in one-timers since you have a better chance at getting more “wood on it”. A heel curve is not the optimum curve for stickhandling.
Toe Curve – If your goal is to pull off the sickest moves possible, the toe curve is for you. With the blade curving at the toe you are able to cup the puck more for exception control. The toe curve is also great for quick shots as it pulls the puck to the center of the blade. The toe curve offers exception control to pull off sick moves. This is the toughest blade to use. Your backhand will suffer and it is not great for slap shots and one-timers.
Mid Curve – This curve starts in the middle of the blade and makes a nice smooth pattern. A mid curve is the all around do everything pattern. It is great for puck control, backhands, shooting and passing. Since it does everything well it does not do any task great. For instance the heel curve will be better for slap shots and one-timers and the toe curve offers exception control to pull off sick moves. The mid curve is the most popular of all curves and it is the best starting point for beginners.
The depth of the curve is the next aspect to consider. There are generally three different depths; Slight, Moderate and Deep.
Slight – A slight curve depth gives you an advantage with slap shots, one-timers, deflections and backhand shots due to its large flat surface. The disadvantages of a slight curve are that it is hard to raise the puck and harder to control the puck as it really does not cup the puck at all.
Deep – If you’re desire is to pull off ankle breaking moves then you may want to try a deep curve since it cups the puck for increased control. The deep curve will also help you hit the top shelf from close quarters. Since the curve is deep it makes it much harder for backhand shots, slap shots, one-timers and deflections. The deep curve is not a good beginner’s pattern.
Moderate – The moderate curve depth is the most popular. It will help with puck control, raising the puck on slap shots, backhand shots, one-timers and deflections. It may affect backhands some but not the extent of a deep curve.
Loft is the angle of the blade from bottom to top. There are generally three different angles; Closed, Slightly Open, and Open.
Closed – A closed face will give you more control of your shot and it will be easier to keep it low on longer shots. A closed face will also aid in stickhandling and backhand shots.
Slightly Open – This face angle aids in getting the puck in the air. It is the most widely used face angle of the three. It will help with slap shots, deflections and saucer passes.
Open – If you need some help getting some air under the puck, you may want to try a blade that has an open face. An open face sill also help chip the puck up quickly in scrambles in front of the net.
The lie is the angle which the blade comes off the ice and up the stick. When your lie is incorrect your shooting will suffer. In order to maximize power you need the complete blade on the ice so you can achieve maximum energy transfer. You want to find the lie that suits your playing style. Lie angles are broken into three categories; High, Mid, and Low.
High Lie – A higher lie allows you to maneuver and keep the puck in tight and close to your body. This lie will put you in perfect position for to use your leverage for quick hard shots. Check your stick; if there is more wear on the toe then you need to go to a higher lie to get the heel down.
Mid Lie – Allows you to still keep the puck close yet still maintain control of passes and shots at a longer reach. A medium lie is versatile for all shots and will also allow you a full range control for stickhandling and passing.
Low Lie – A Lower lie gives you maximum control with longer sticks and lengthens your reach. Will open up more room for large passing lanes and is the optimum angle for slap shots. Check you stick; if there is more wear on the heel then you will need a lower lie to get the toe down.
The last factor to consider is what type of toe you want on your blade. The toe shape is the least important of all the aspects. The higher level you play than the more it will matter to your game. There are two basic toe shapes; Round and Square.
Round – A round toe will aid in pulling off some more advanced moves and allow for greater puck control.
Square – A square toe has a bigger surface area so it make it easier in receiving passes, taking one-timers and collecting the puck off the boards.
If you have any other questions about blades please contact HockeyX.com by phone (877-837-4427) or email (email@example.com). We love to sit around and talk hockey with our customers!
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to HockeyX.com for the above article.
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