Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Great Stick Debate

We’ve seen it time and time again. A team is on the powerplay, down by one late in the third
period. There’s a man wide open at the side of the net, the pass comes and... his stick shatters into a million pieces. Talk about anti-climactic. People may ask the question, “why in the world will players keep using these composite sticks if they’re prone to breaking so easily?” but the reality is that the pros of using these sticks far outweigh the cons. Players can now take shots at a speed and quickness never before seen, a necessary attribute with today’s butterfly goaltenders. The flex of the sticks, which allows for more whip action, and the lightness cannot be matched by the classic wooden sticks. Then comes the counter-point “but players like Shanahan and Stastny still use wooden sticks, and it seems to be working out fine for them”, to which I say this: they are only using wooden sticks because of preference. They have stated that they would like to switch to composite, but they just can’t get used to the feel of them. Since they are still having success with the wooden sticks, they see no reason to change. There is still an undeniable advantage to using composite sticks. The reality is, the sticks don’t break all that often. It just seems like they do because it stands out to the fan watching the game on tv, and I don’t have a specific stat, but I estimate that there is one stick broken for every game. That really isn’t a lot, because despite popular belief, wooden sticks weren’t indestructible either.

It’s even got to the point that goalies are now using fully composite sticks, mainly for the weight factor. I use one myself and I really don’t see a huge difference, but it noticeably weighs less which helps. My point is that all of the fans who complain and whine over these “new-fangled composite sticks that always break”, should realize that they aren’t going anywhere. Players will continue to use them until the next stick invention is made, so sit back, relax, and get ready to watch the sticks explode some more.


Ogre said...

As a Goalie, I will always use a wooden stick. It's a comfort issue. I don't need to shoot a puck 90 MPH as a goalie, though. It just feels more secure in my hand.

Greg Balloch said...

It's as light as a feather, it took some getting used to, but I really like them now.