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5 NHL players who use unique hockey sticks

In the professional hockey world, sticks are a bit like the fingerprints of the players- not two are exactly the same. Different bodies and a range of personal preferences and various on-ice roles determine the need for different characteristics. There’s flex, lie, curve, grip, tape, length, weight and more to consider.

But some players… some players are really out there. When a guy drops his stick on the ice and skates by the bench to grab another, there’s a few dudes who’ve been told “don’t give them your stick, nobody wants it!”

Below are five guys on that list.

1. Phil Kessel

Brand: Easton (S19)
Hand: Right

Unique characteristics:
James Mirtle wrote a post in february that highlighted the uniqueness of phil kessel’s hockey stick:

New stick technology has changed the way all players interact with pucks in the past decade, but kessel has taken more advantage of it than most. His stick, manufactured by Easton, has a Flex rating of less than 70, one of the lowest in the league.

There are quotes in the story from Joffrey Lupul and former pro Jeff O’Neill who both say something similar: almost nobody else in hockey could use a stick with a flex like that. You’re limited from taking one-timers, you’re hindered when battling for pucks… it’s just too specialized for the average player. The stick has a low kickpoint, so Kessel is able to shoot high while in stride, as we’ve seen numerous times.

Phil Kessel using a 70 flex Easton Stealth CX stick

2. Danny Briere

Brand: Bauer
Hand: Right

Unique characteristics:
Most people want their sticks to look and feel exactly the same each time, so that they can think about all the other things on a hockey rink that require attention. Danny Briere knows that he is always at his strongest training camp, so he uses a stiffer flex to begin the year (always quite flexible compared to most players, like 90). During the season, he backs the flex, down to about 75. He also uses a “soft” blade that can give a little more feeling and cushion. Let him tell you here, by telling Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin a couple of years ago:

3.

3. Zdeno Chara

Brand: Warrior
Hand: Left

Unique characteristics:
Given his relationship to the ice, using an off-the-rack long stick would mean the toe of the blade would be up in the air. St. Louis has customized his sticks to have an extremely low lie to keep the blade flat on the ice while still using the longer twig.

A piece by Nick Cotsonika last summer made note of Zdeno Chara ’s comically long stick, and the reach it provides him: not only does he stand 7 feet tall on skates, he possesses a stick that is supposed to stretch 65 inches from knob to heel – the longest exception to the rule the league will allow. Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said:

“I don’t know what to compare his reach to. It’s tough to get away from him. On his half of the rink, he’s going to get a piece of you somehow.”

Chara’s stick is so long that it has to be made to a stiffness level that’s off the charts to keep it from acting like a rubber band, some people think it’s a 150 flex, double the stiffness of the stick you’re probably using! His stick is basically a giant piece of rebar. Nevertheless, Chara manages to be one of the toughest defenders of the NHL, not least thanks to his enormous range and him racket combination, which pushes forward to stay as far away from him as possible.

BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 16: Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins shoots the puck against the New York Islanders at the TD Garden on January 16, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

4. Martin St. Louis

Brand: Warrior
Hand: Left

Unique characteristics:
You would think, what with being 5’8”, Martin St. Louis would use a short stick. You would think, what with being a puck handler, Martin St. Louis would use a short stick.

He does not.

Given his relationship to the ice, using an off-the-rack long stick would mean the toe of the blade would be up in the air. St. Louis has customized his sticks to have an extremely low lie to keep the blade flat on the ice while still using the longer twig.

January 8, 2015: New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis (26) during the NHL regular season game between the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

5. Mike Cammalleri

It’s simply because of a build error at the Easton factory, that Mike Cammalleri ended up with the blade on his stick that he now loves.

Cammalleri received his usual order of Easton sticks, however, when they were made, the blade had an unintended flaw in the bottom of the blade. An extra bit of material used in manufacture, allowed him to effectively have 2 different lies on the blade – one on the toe part of the blade that would allow him to get more blade flat when he was trying to deal with pucks in near his feet, and one on the heel side that would allow him his normal shot. Because of that error, Mike Cammalleri was the first person to use a “dual lie” blade.

Going forward, he requested that all his blades come with this extra notch. Easton has since extended this option to its other sponsored NHLers, and had the “dual lie” available for retail in some of their top end sticks.

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