He may not be a household name just yet, but San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin may work his way into your mental NHL player directory yet. Now in his second NHL season, the 26 year old British Columbian is continuing a trend from his amateur career that has seen his point totals, ice-time, and contributions to his team’s success dynamically increase every year.
Irwin spoke with me at length about his long road to the NHL and what he’ll have to do to stay there, the tough decisions he was required to make and small window of opportunity he had to live out his dream, past teammates that helped get him where he is now, current ones that help make him better, what the San Jose Sharks will have to do to win their first Stanley Cup, what it takes to be consistently inserted into a lineup full of Olympians, All-Stars, and Stanley Cup champions, and more.
Larry Fisher from the Kelowna Daily Courier called in for episode 13 to debrief all the action from the 2014 NHL trade deadline. We talked Martin St. Louis for Ryan Callahan, Roberto Luongo to Florida, Gaborik to LA, Ryan Miller to Buffalo, Jaroslav Halak all over the place, Vanek’s path to Montreal, Edmonton’s moves of Hemsky and Bryzgalov, the non-moves of Brodeur and Kesler, and we both pick our winners of the day.
In episode 12 of XP PSP, Justin Bourne from The Score dropped by to debrief the Sochi 2014 Olympic hockey tournament with me, and discuss it’s implications on the NHL moving forward. We talked about Canada’s route to gold, USA’s fall from grace, Backstrom’s Olympic suspension, how it affected Sweden’s outcome and why team doctors weren’t regulating his intake better, whether Canada’s win justifies all the heavily critcised roster adjustments the coaching staff made, who steps into Steve Yzerman’s role next Olympics, who Canada would send if the NHL chose not to participate in the 2018 Olympics, what the alternative to the Olympics as a best-on-best tournament would be, how John Tavares’ Olympic injury affects the decision for the NHL to return or not, how it affects the Islanders going forward this season, how Olympic performances affect NHL players finishing their NHL season, and more.
Wanna pass along some info on a neat new product from Quattriuum. They have designed the FWD Powershot; a sensor that is inserted into the shaft of your hockey stick, and can be used to measure and track all sorts of user specific data about you and your shot. I know the radar shooting station was always my favorite part of hockey school, and this little gizmo allows you to essentially bring a radar gun with you every time you play or practice. It also has the potential to help you see very pointed areas of where you could improve that you would otherwise not be conscious of. Have a read, support their Kickstarter campaign, and maybe even buy one!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Executing shots with power and speed is vital for every hockey player. Come release day, a major technological innovation will forever change the way amateur and professional athletes train for this sport.
Designed by Quattriuum, the FWD Powershot is a sensor that attaches to your hockey stick, allowing you to measure different aspects of your performance. With the Powershot, you can measure the acceleration and speed of your stick, the duration and angle of movement, and the speed of your stick’s rotation. The Powershot also estimates the speed of the puck in game situations, without radar.
The technology in the FWD Powershot helps you learn more about how you play and identifies your strengths and weaknesses. You can follow your progress over time and compare your performance with that of other players. You can also share your results on social networks.
“Because we’re passionate about sports and cutting-edge technology, we realized there was no technological solution that allowed players to push their talent one step further. We combined our strengths to create an accessible and ultra-efficient tool, something that would bring science to our national sport. Now we’re looking for passionate players like you to back our project on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter,” said Olivier Munger, President and Chief Technology Officer at Quattriuum.
How does it work?
The FWD Powershot is a user-friendly, high-performance miniaturized platform that allows real-time processing of algorithms that detect and analyze complex movements. The Powershot is specially designed to measure the range of shooting techniques in hockey. The system is a powerful asset for players looking to push their skills to the next level, fast.
The FWD Powershot works hand in hand with the FWD Sportscard App, which sends and displays the Powershot’s tracked data via Bluetooth, and allows you to analyze, share and compare your data with others.
To learn more about the technology behind the FWD Powershot, visit www.quattriuum.com/en/
To back our project on Kickstarter, click here.
Founded in 2007 by a group of tech-savvy entrepreneurs, Quattriuum specializes in motion tracking and analysis.
Drawing on its team’s specialized expertise in the areas of telecommunications, microelectronics and computing, the company aims to export these competencies to other sectors and increase the range of potential applications.
Inspired by a deep understanding of the digital nature of movement, Quattriuum is working to create products for amateur and professional athletes, as well as sports organizations. Our goal is to help players understand, learn more about and improve how they play as individuals and as members of a team.
FWD Powershot retails for $149.99
For more information on the FWD Powershot, contact their President and Chief Technology Officer, Olivier Munger by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 514-817-9255
Whoa, we made a second episode? Huh. How about that.
Well,in episode two, we discuss:
-The NHL playoffs; the demise of the Vancouver Canucks, and how to fix them.
-The differences between the regular season and the playoffs.
-The NBA playoffs; Jason Collins, and homosexuality in sports.
-Brittany Griner, and the prospect of women playing in the NBA, and other male dominated sports.
Click here to listen: xppsp.podbean.com
Hi folks! Friend of the blog, Rob Cunning, is back with his latest installment of The Rob Report. In this edition, Rob takes a look at the Toe Tape-It, by Stick-Aid. It’s a great time-saving product for hockey players out there that tape their toes, but are ready to ditch the scissors in the back they’ve been toting around for far too long. Have a look at what he thought!
The “Toe Tape-It” by Stick-Aid
Christmas is just around the corner, and the folks at Stick-Aid have a fantastic little product for the hockey player on your list who you still need to find a stocking stuffer for.
If you are, or you know a player who is a habitual taper of the toe of your hockey stick blade, Stick-Aid’s “Toe Tape-it” is for you.
The traditional toe tape job requires either a two or even three step process to complete – and some people even require a pair of scissors to be on hand to finish the job. Not exactly ideal variables when you need to re-tape mid game, are in a rush to get on the ice and are in desperate need of a new TJ, or are in any other scenario that is may result in the sacrifice of a fresh wrap on your blade. And who wants to dive into their bag and run the risk of getting stabbed by a pair of scissors anyway?
Toe Tape-it cuts the labor process of toe taping down to just one step: just stick the product on either the forehand, backhand, or both sides of the toe of your blade. That’s it. You’ll have to smooth over the edges and confirm you’ve aligned it properly, but this approach is no where near as labor intense as the old way, and it’s every bit as effective. Way simpler, and faster. Boom. Win.
Watch the instructional video here (you’ll need to use Internet Explorer to see it)
There are 12 TTI’s per pack, so you’ll be stocked for a good while with every pack you buy. TTI even comes in five colors (black, white, red, orange, blue), so you can customize your tape job to match your team’s colors, or whatever you please, really. But if I were you, I’d just stick with good ol’ black. If it was good enough for Wayne Gretzky, it’s good enough for you too.
1) First off, if you don’t tape your toe to begin with, this product probably isn’t for you. Hockey players are creatures of habit, and very rarely stray from traditional/superstitious methodologies, but if you’re willing to try something new, this could be a good catalyst towards a new approach to your tape job. Personally, I made the switch to taping my toe in college, and never looked back. It might be the way to go for you too, if you give it a chance.
2) You’re gonna have to have a rounded toe stick blade – if you’re a square toe guy or girl, this ain’t gonna work for you. Unless you get out the scissors and customize further, but then that’d defeat the whole purpose of the product.
If you’re game to give it a shot, here’s a list of shops and dealers that can help you get your hands on Toe Tape-It: http://www.stick-aid.com/dealer_page.html
Hi folks! The following is a product review done by friend of the blog, Rob Cunning. Rob is a software developer at Thinkingbox, an Athletic Therapist working out of the Langley/Vancouver BC area, and also my brother. He formerly was the AT for the Mt.Royal University Cougars men’s hockey team, and Trinity Western University Spartans men’s soccer team and men’s & women’s volleyball teams. He also played a little puck for Trinity Western University of the BCIHL, and some baseball for the University of Calgary Dinos, Kelowna Jays, Kwantlen Eagles and Burnaby Bulldogs too.
That all being said, Rob recently reviewed 3M’s Tape Tiger, a new hockey tape removal device, and below are his findings. Enjoy!
The Rob Report:
The Tape Tiger by 3M Hockey
The Tape Tiger is a new device from 3M’s Elite Series of hockey products, and is highly effective for easing the hassle of tape removal from a player’s hockey stick blade.
After using it, I was reminded of the “Shark” tape cutter, a tool Athletic Therapists use to remove tape from an athlete’s taped body part – a great tool which we use often in our field.
Upon using the Tape Tiger, I found that it removed hockey tape well, and did not leave any cut marks on the blade afterwards. Also, it did not matter which side of the blade I cut on, it was effectively removed the tape from both faces. However, I think it would be easier to remove tape from the backhand side of more curved blades with this tool, in my opinion.
It was really easy to cut fresh/more recent tape off of a blade with the Tape Tiger, however it did have some difficulty removing older tape (tape on a stick for 1+ years, maybe from that stick in your basement you haven’t re-taped since minor hockey, for example). That being said, it did get the job done in the end.
If ever necessary, the Tape Tiger’s blade may be a bit time consuming to change, as you have to unscrew it from the body in order to facilitate replacement. Once it’s unscrewed though, the replacement process is pretty easy – it only requires the user to slide the old blade out, slide a new one in its place, and retighten. However, treat it right and its stainless steel blade should serve you well for many seasons before any maintenance is required.
The deluxe version (which I demo’ed) comes equipped with a few handy little extras that the original version does not include:
1) A stone for removing burrs and nicks from skate blades – perfect to tune up an edge in a pinch when you’ve lost one mid-game and a trip to the hockey shop for a sharpening is out of the question.
2) A lace tightener – which is useful, but not something I’d use. Perhaps it would be useful for a younger player still learning to tie their skates, or someone who struggles to tie their skates tight enough, but personally I can tie my skates well enough with my hands at this point. But again, useful if a scenario calls for it.
3) The lace tightener also triples as a bottle opener and a flathead screwdriver–great for beer league hockey, or any sort of post game celebration in the dressing room; and for when some knucklehead brings bottles into the dressing room instead of cans for the post-game.
4) The screwdriver is perfect for tightening or removing helmet screws, and possibly skate screws depending on which brand of skates you own.
5) There’s also a key ring thrown into this Swiss-Army knife-like mix, for, you know, attaching your keys to.
Overall, the Tape Tiger is a great device that does exactly what it says it does – quickly and easily removes hockey tape from a stick blade. Plus, it provides extra tools for situations that all hockey players encounter at some point and need a tool for. It’s especially great for players who already lug around toolbox worth of gadgets in their bag and could use some consolidation. However, if you have one of these, you run the risk of either becoming that guy with all the weird tools in his bag, or else the guy who never gets to use his own sweet stuff because everyone’s always borrowing it. It would be an asset to any team’s equipment manager too.
I rate this product as a buy. Pick one up at your local Canadian Tire next time you’re in one and chuck it in your hockey bag.
For more info, visit: http://www.3m.com/intl/ca/english/centres/home_leisure/hockey/3Mhockey-tapetiger.htm
Or their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/3MHockey
To browse 3M Hockey’s full-line of Hockey Canada backed Core & Elite Series hockey products, visit: www.3MHockey.ca
Product Promo video:
Hi folks! This is the video podcast (written version here: http://bit.ly/VzOpWb on The Score’s Backhand Shelf) of my September 2012 interview with former NHLer and ex-con, Mike Danton.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that no one in the game of hockey has a stigma around them the way that Mike Danton does. Now trying to resume his professional hockey career in Europe, the ex-NHLer and ex-con deals with all sorts of prejudice and ignorance directed towards him on a daily basis — not to mention all the life roadblocks that a convicted felon could expect on the outside, because of his nearly decade-old crime — despite serving his sentence.
In our interview, Mike talked very candidly and at length about everything from hockey, his time in jail, how he’s turned his life around for the better, his thoughts on other ex-con pro athletes, his feelings on being denied entry to the UK to play, his family, and what the future holds for him. Without a doubt, the responses that he gives will at least make you reconsider the opinion you’ve come to form about him.