Stanley Cup Finals Hockey Equipment Infographic

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

So once again we decided to take some playoff data and put our own little Pure Hockey gear spin on it. This time we took the two Stanley Cup Finals combatants and compiled their points through these playoffs, with a twist. We have broken it down and looked at points scores by each brand, in 3 different gear categories, sticks, gloves and skates for each team. In a very impressive 6-for-6 sweep, Bauer took home the title, accounting for the most points on both the Bruins and Blackhawks in all three categories.

Sticks: Not surprisingly considering their high number of players using their sticks, Bauer took home the most points on both teams. Coming in second was Reebok on the Bruins and CCM on the Hawks.

Gloves: Again Bauer came away with the win in both locker rooms, running away with the win on the Bruins, more than tripling the points produced by players wearing 2nd place Reebok. For the Hawks on the other hand, Bauer won, but by a much smaller margin, only putting up 13 more points than Reebok who again came in 2nd place, and Warrior in a close 3rd place at 24 points produced.

Skates: In an absolute landslide, Bauer skate users put home 120 points for the Bruins or about 86% of all their team’s points. CCM and Reebok came in 2nd and 3rd respectively. The Blackhawks saw Bauer users score the lion’s share of points as well, showing up on the score sheet 114 times. CCM coming in 2nd at 43 points and Reebok in 3rd with 10 points.

Check out the results below or download the bigger version right here.


Western Conference Finals – The Pure Hockey Equipment Breakdown

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

 

Earlier this week we went over the gear battle between the Bruins and the Penguins in the Eastern conference final. Your feedback was awesome, so we were inspired to head over to the Western Conference to match-up the Kings and Blackhawks. We could give you our thoughts on the actual games, but for that you’re way better  off heading to some actual hockey experts – we’ll stick to what we know, which is hockey equipment.

We took a look at some major categories (gloves, sticks, skates, helmets and goalie gear) to see what all the players are wearing. Just like in the East, Bauer Hockey pretty much dominates the landscape, again coming in with 47% of the total gear worn by both teams. CCM/Reebok comes in a close second with 38%, split evenly at 19% per brand. Easton fell behind, carrying only 9% of the total gear in the Western Conference Final. Rounding out the rest was Warrior Hockey with 6%, while Winnwell and Graf represented 1% each.

Sticks: CCM took their first team lead in a category, tying Bauer hockey, who has Patrick Kane using the new APX2, as the leading stick used by the Chicago Blackhawks, with 26% per brand. That’s what happens when you release a stick as hot as the RBZ has been this season. Bauer dominated the Kings roster however, capturing 42% of the team and nearly doubling the total put up by 2nd place Easton at 23%. Reebok finished as the middle manufacturer on both teams, managing high teen percentages on each. Warrior Hockey came in last on both teams, their Covert DT1 being slightly more popular with the Hawks. Worth noting is the spread of stick makers on either team, the Kings with a leader of 42% and last place at 4%. The Blackhawks had the same leader with Bauer, but at only 26%, with Warrior carrying the smallest share – but not terrible – behind at 13%.

Gloves: Bauer takes a dominant lead in the Kings locker room with 58%, more than tripling 2nd place Reebok at 19%. For the Hawks however, Bauer came in 3rd with 22% even with Jonathan Toews rocking the new Supreme TotalOne NXG gloves. Coming in first was Reebok at 30%, followed by Warrior with 26%. Unfortunately for CCM and Easton, they came in 4th and 5th respectively, on both teams with under 15%.

Skates: Not surprisingly, Bauer with their three top model skates – the Vapor APX2, Supreme TotalOne NXG and the Nexus 1000 – came out way ahead. Bauer came away with a staggering 85% of the Kings in their boots, and 65% of the Blackhawks. Reebok came in second on both sides of the ice, with 8% of the Kings, and 17% of the Hawks. On the Hawks side, CCM matched its sibling Reebok and the 20K skate at 17%, while only managing one Kings player wearing skates. Graf also made an appearance, with one Kings player donning the distinctive neon yellow. Easton and their new Mako skate will not be making any appearances in the Western Conference Finals this season, even though they have some great technology to offer.

Helmets: Buckets was a very interesting category in the WCF. In the Kings room, Bauer represents half of the lids with CCM and Reebok tying for second, capturing 23% each. This is undoubtedly due to the popularity, comfort and protection of the Re-Akt and the IMS 9.0. On the other side of it, 48% of the Blackhawks are wearing CCM. The CCM V10 and V08 have one of the best looking shell designs on the market, a big selling point for NHL Pros. Reebok has 17% of the Blackhawks between their 11K and 7K helmets. Easton came in 4th with both teams, protecting 9% of the Hawks heads, and one single King. Warrior had one player on the Hawks and, ironically, zero actual Kings wearing their Krown 360 Helmet (cue the drum — ba-dum-bum…tshh). Get it? Kings? Krown?

Goalies: On the Kings side, starter Jonathon Quick wearing Vaughn can only boost them into second place with 25% behind Back-up Jonathon Bernier’s full CCM set-up putting them at 38%. In a tie at the bottom with 13% each came Warrior, Bauer and Reebok. In the Hawks crease, Reebok dominates with 75%, blowing away the other two brands. Brian’s makes their only appearance in either conference, Ray Emery’s full set up giving them a respectable 17% showing. Warrior is the only other brand represented between the Hawks pipes with 8% of the total gear.

How we compiled this: We grabbed the rosters from each team’s respective websites and then we went hunting for recent pictures. Most of the images we compiled this data from are pictures from the last week or so. If it was a player who hasn’t seen playoff action, we grabbed a picture from their last NHL game or AHL game if they haven’t seen any NHL action yet (reserve callups, for example). It was a good excercise and very interesting!

You can download the full size graphic right here and see it in a much larger, clearer size. Study it and share it all you want! We’d love to hear your thoughts. What surprised you? What didn’t? What SHOULD players be wearing?


Fantasy Hockey Draft Strategy Guide

By Kyle Stevenson, Pure Hockey Marketing

So fantasy drafts are getting underway for this shortened season, and I thought I would throw out some of my humble advice for the upcoming year…

Centers

1)    Evgeni Malkin- Not much explanation needed here, but last season’s leading scorer. He’s been playing, and playing well in the KHL, w/ 65 points in 37 games for Metallurg, and that’s when he doesn’t have arguably the world’s best playing on his line.

2)    Steven Stamkos- Another stud playing the middle. Tends to start off hot right out of the gate with 54 points in the first 48 games of last year. Even with a shortened camp, Stamkos is one of the best-conditioned players in the league, thanks to trainer and former NHLer Gary Roberts, so expect him to be ready to go on day one.

3)    Jason Spezza- One of the most criticized players in the NHL, but the guy has skill. With a short camp, there is going to be some sloppy play league-wide, look for guys like Spezza who are masters of creating space for themselves, to ravage teams working the kinks out of their D-Zone systems. Plus he uses the Pure Hockey Custom S19 Pure, and that’s gotta be worth something.

4)    Pavel Datsyuk- Datsyuk is his own offensive system, one of the best sets of hands in the league, probably the best vision, and unbelievably creative on the ice. He’s missed some time the past couple seasons, but the shortened season should help some aging veterans like Pavel stay on the ice and stay productive. He is great in leagues that get points for things like FO% and +/-.

Sleeper Center- Patrice Bergeron- Not as much of a secret as a couple years ago, but he’s been putting up numbers, playing alongside the budding superstar Tyler Seguin who continues to improve. Look for both their numbers to rise this season. Another player who can get you numbers in side categories, Bergeron led all centers in +/- last year, and contributed goals on the PP, SH and threw a few GW’s in the back of the net.

Risk/Reward Center- Sidney Crosby- This advice is going to fall on deaf ears in many leagues, but be careful on this one. Concussion issues are going to be an even more drastic influence this season. A bump on the head for Sid could mean a couple weeks out, and with the shortened season, that could be a quarter of the year. He’s worth picking up, but I wouldn’t go higher than a low 2nd/high 3rd rounder.

Wings

1)    Claude Giroux- Another top pick that needs little explanation. Giroux has proven that he’s the real deal, and proved in last years playoff that he wants to be a leader for Philly.  Another guy who went and lit up Europe, even for a short stint (19 Pts. in 9 Games). A high Faceoff % (53.7%), and 6 PP goals last season help his draft stock.

2)    Phil Kessel- As a Bruins fan I hate to write this, but I think the Leafs’ sniper is going to come up pretty big this year. The leafs added JVR from Philly, along with the continuing development of Nazem Kadri and a new GM who I believe will want to put his own fingerprint on this team by adding some fire power.

3)    Ilya Kovalchuk- The only question mark becomes, how will Kovy perform without Parise in NJ, but in fairness, he put up huge numbers for years on what could have been accurately called the Atlanta Kovalchuk Show. Kovy has been playing for his hometown SKA in the KHL, and has been a more than point per game player over there.

4)    Marian Gaborik- Although he’s been known as a bit of a band-aid throughout his career, and is seemingly always fighting injury, he is another guy who stands to benefit from the shortened season. Always a scoring threat, the Rangers have the capability to throw out what could be the most impactful line in the league in a long time with Gabby, Rick Nash and Brad Richards. And he will undoubtedly be a part of what will be a lethal first unit PP in Madison Square Garden.

5)    Tyler Seguin- Look for Seguin to continue the leap forward he took last season, and assume a larger roll on the Bruins. Although Claude Julien’s system of rolling 4 lines relatively easily leads to a pretty big spread of the point wealth on the team, Seguin will see an increased roll on the powerplay and in situational play. Look for an increased roll, and increased points.

6)    Jordan Eberle- In their first two years in the NHL, Eberle’s star has outshone that of the 2010 First overall pick Taylor Hall. With a sweet set of mitts, and great shot, Eberle has the potential to beat his career high of 76 points from 2011-12. Playing for the Oilers’ AHL affiliate this season, he amassed 51 points in 34 games so expect him to come out of the gates flying.

Sleeper Wing- Ray Whitney- In 2011-12, at age 39, Whitney fell just 6 points shy of his career high total with 77 points. He has moved from Phoenix to Dallas, who has a new, beefed up offense, featuring additions Jagr, and Derek Roy, Whitney should be able to put up some good numbers, especially in a shortened year.

Risk/Reward Wing- Rick Nash- It pained me to type that out, as I’m a huge Nash fan, the guy absolutely has it all, size, grit, hands and a rocket of a shot, but you always need to be a bit weary of a player who has spent his career in the obscurity of Columbus jumping to the media pressure and the bright lights of NY. Look for good numbers, assuming Nash can shut out the potential criticism that comes with having a big contract on the Blue Shirts.

Defenseman

1)    Erik Karlsson- This stems from Karlsson flat out running away with the lead for points by a D-man in only his third season in the league. The guy is the real deal. He has improved every season and look for him to continue that trend this year.

2)    Zdeno Chara- Z led all D-men in +/- last year playing in Julien’s Defense first system. And that will likely be the case again this year. A great passer, sets up the Bruins transition game, leading to a lot of assists, and the is the power on the backend of the B’s powerplay, where he scored 8 of his 12 goals. In leagues that factor it in, Z is a big body that blocks a ton of shots.

3)    Dustin Byfuglien- A big guy, that isn’t afraid to wheel with the puck. Expect Claude Noel to continue to encourage that and send Byfuglien straight to the net. A big key to Byfuglien is staying healthy, he plays hard and throws his body around a lot and that can wear on a big guy.

4)    Brian Campbell- If Florida can perform like they did last season and win the Southeast, expect Campbell and the points he puts up to be a big factor. A D-man who can fly and carries the puck, he is a key in jumpstarting the Panthers Offense.

Sleeper Defenseman- Kevin Shattenkirk- Expect Shattenkirk to continue progressing and to see his point totals go up this season. The former BU Terrier will be a great later round pick and add some depth to your D-core.

Risk/Reward Defenseman- Shea Weber- Could be an interesting year for the big D-man, new contract, losing his D partner Ryan Suter to the Wild, he’s still a great D-man on his own, but expect his points and +/- to dip without Suter across the line as more of the Defensive load falls on his shoulders.

Goalies

1)    Jonathan Quick- The former Umass Minteman is fresh off the cup win, and led the league in shutouts last season. Barring a cup hangover, Quick is a safe bet in the crease and can steal you a few matchups.

2)    Henrik Lundqvist- The King is going to bring it again this season, probably the most consistent, yet overlooked goalie in the league. 39 Wins last year, a Sub 2 GAA and .930 Save Percentage. Combined with the Rangers bolstered Offense, expect a few more wins out of Lundqvist this year. (You also just know he’s fired up for not making Cosmo’s Sexiest hockey player list this year #motivation)

3)    Mike Smith- Look for Smith to continue the impressive numbers he put up for the ‘Yotes last year. He tied Lundqvist’s .930 Save %, posted a 2.21 GAA and over 1900 saves. The 6’4 tendy, covers the net well, and is very athletic.

Sleeper Goalie- Kari Lehtonen- He reaffirmed himself as a top notch keeper last season on the Stars, and expect him to pick up a few more wins this season considering the Stars’ bolstered offense.

Risk/Reward Goalies-

Tuukka Rask- Rask once had the starting job in Boston, and lead the league in Save % and GAA, before losing the job, not for his own performance, but because of Tim Thomas’ historic play in 2011. The question for Rask is durability at 6’3 and only 170 lbs., can he handle the rigors of a full season as the starter, luckily you won’t need to find out this year with the 48 game schedule. I think Rask’s technical, butterfly style is a perfect match for Julien’s system, which allows a lot of outside and long shots, where his angles, and ability to stay square will be a great asset.

Cory Schneider- Another goalie who is no doubt a top end goalie. Schneider filled in admirably in the stead of an injured and mentally struggling Roberto Luongo (Steer way ,way clear of him by the way)  The question becomes can he handle the full time starting job. I think the answer is an overwhelming yes, but it’s still a bit risky.

Marc-Andre Fleury- After an abissmal playoff performance that has some questioning MAF’s mental toughness, the question becomes, can this premier goalie bounce back to his former level?

Pekke Rinne- Its tough for any goalie to lose his number #2 Defenseman, Especially when he would be the #1 on almost any other team. I expect this to have more influence on the Preds W/L than Rinne’s performance. But I expect his W’s to drop a bit.

Just a few of my humble predictions for the upcoming NHL season, I’m just glad the season is back and I get to make them!


Interview with Hal Gill of The Nashville Predators

By Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing & E-Commerce

Joining us the second time for an interview on our blog is the Nashville Predators defensamen Hal Gill, now an NHL veteran of five teams and 10+ years in the league. We talk with Hal about playing in Nashville vs. the more pressure packed cities he’s played in, what he might do after his hockey career is over and what series/games he’d like to have back. This interview was conducted on Saturday, one day before the lockout ended. Here we go…..

This will be the only lockout question: It’s safe to say the lockout sucks on many levels, but let’s try to spin it positive. Besides the obvious answer of getting to spend the extra valuable time with your kids and family, what other positives have you been able to wrestle out of this lockout? 

I guess I get some rest. Maybe I can add another season to my career. Really not much good comes from any of this CBA foolishness.

You’ve now run the gamut of pressure cookers, or lack thereof. Not belittling Nashville in any way, but playing in Boston, Toronto and Montreal – and then playing in Nashville – that has got to be completely different experience. Does the scrutiny or attention you get as a player in Montreal, for example, help your game and do you wonder and/or worry about how you may respond to just PLAYING without all the other stuff buzzing around?
When you are in a big market, there is a lot of noise so you can easily ignore it.  In a smaller market it is quiet a lot, so when there is an event, then things get loud real quick.  In the end, it’s all the same when you get out on the ice.
In our last interview, we asked about your most memorable goal and your response was that you couldn’t really think of one and that most of your good memories are of blocked shots. So now you know the next question – is there really one particular blocked shot you can cite? Or is it just the general collective pride of doing so? 
The best feeling is making a difference in a win. If I have a nice bruise from a blocked shot that won a game, then that’s like a goal for me.  I guess it’s a badge of honor.
There are endless websites and discussion forums chock full of youth and high school players who are OBSESSED about the technical features and the ins-and-outs of hockey equipment. Equipment doesn’t make the player, I think that’s obvious.  With that said, who would you say is a teammate you’ve had who was the most “into” their gear?
I played with Michael Cammalleri. He is very in tune with his gear – especially his skates and sticks.  I am comfortable with most gear.  Consistency is my biggest worry. I want each stick to be the same.
You are now 37. Congratulations! You’ve played a lot of games in the NHL – can you put into words somehow what it feels like as a 37 year old compared to, say, a 25 year old? Does the 37 year old Gill still feel the WOW factor when you step onto the ice in front of 15,000+, for example? Or is it something different now?
I still get the butterflies (man i miss those), but now my full attention is on winning.  When I was 25, there were more thoughts on ice time, contract and things of that nature.  I wish I knew then that it ALL comes together when you win.
You played through the playoffs this past season with a fractured tibia that had to be “frozen” before each game. Can you explain that process? Are you simply dipping that thing into a tub of ice for a while? Or is it more medical than that? That seems insane. Admirably insane, that is. 

Thank you but I think when you get “needled” to go out and play, it’s something that most players have done just the same, so it isn’t that big of a deal. What is a big deal is the way you play. When you can elevate your game while injured, then that is remarkable.

As a New Englander, you grew up a Bruins fan. Are you still? The vibe we get from a lot of NHL players we talk to is that as the years go by, you find yourself becoming a fan of the team for which your closest friends play for as opposed to a particular team. 
Not really. I still havent gotten over my Hab days where they (Boston) beat us in 7. I’d give anything to get that one back.
Finally, do you think about post-career stuff yet? Do you want to stay in hockey somehow? Twitter for a few years and relax? Start a brewery? 

Haha, that all sounds good! I would love to get involved in coaching on some level and I will always support breweries – maybe not start one though!
Big thanks to Hal Gill for the time – and we are glad we were able to catch him before camp started.