Hockey equipment and technology has come along way since the firstNHL game in 1917, but one thing has remained the same for nearly half a century. How players sharpen their skates. Traditional skate sharpening entailed creating a hollow in the skate blade, a shallower hollow increased the speed of a skater and a deeper hallow gave the player greater bit in the ice. However, Blackstone Sports, a Canadian based hockey equipment company, has created a new, cutting edge technology to sharpening skates. They call it the Flat Bottom V.
In trying to maximize the bite on a players skate, Blackstone did away with the traditional hollow and instead created a flat with two fangs coming down on the edges and then going back up on an angle. This allows the skater have more or less bite by changing the angle rather than making them go deeper or shallower into the ice.
A Key component to the Flat Bottom V technology was the new way they developed to dress a skate sharpening wheel, called a spinner system. "It didn't take us long to figure out we could put what ever shape we wanted onto one of these spinners, Company owner, Steve Wilson, told us during a phone interview. "so we started diving into the different types of shapes that we could use that would be affective for skate sharpening."
The idea for an improved skate sharpening technique began with company co founder and Steve Wilson's father, Murray Wilson. Murray Wilson worked with former NHLer Paul Coffey and always found it interesting that Coffey would skate on a "very, very" shallow radius. It was explained to us that Coffey skated such a shallow radius because he wanted to be able to glide. Coffey desired such a glide that he was forced to give up a lot of bite on the ice forcing him to change the way he skated. "He never stopped and started again," described Steve Wilson. "He just kept skating, kind of doing figure eights around the ice."
"[Murray Wilson] always had it in his mind that he wanted to make it so that [players] didn't have to give up that bite," explained Steve Wilson.
With the idea in mind Blackstone, lead by Wilson, worked with engineers to come up with ideas. The first idea they came up with was to cut a "V" shape into the blade, unfortunately it was not the best idea. "That didn't work at all," revealed Wilson. "It was actually worse than the traditional radius that we were using before" After the failed first attempt, they decided to cut the "V" so that it was flat allowing the skater to get the bite angle that the creators intended for. "That's kind of how it all started, said Wilson. "It's just coming up with an idea and working with it."
Luckily for Wilson and company their hard work has paid off. Flat Bottom V has taken off in the NHL and through out the ranks of the hockey industry, in part thanks to the close nit community hockey has, the word is spreading about just how great this new technology is. "I think it's a great technology," Cory Stillman of the Florida Panthers told TSN. "I think the biggest thing with this sharpening is that it allows you to stay on top of the ice, have a faster stride, and not tire as quickly." "A very large percentage of players that try it will go on it because they notice it doesn't effect the way they skate, but it enhances it, Wilson explained to me. "There is so much less drag in the ice that it's finding a feeling they like and they are looking for. So they can get that bite yet have the glide they want."
The technology is so advanced that it can even be specially designed for a specific player. Islanders Captain, Doug Weight, is one example. Blackstone was able to design a spinner specifically for him using specifications provided by Weight. "We were able to make him up his special spinner, which is his own cut, said Wilson. "Where before we could never do anything like that it."
In just a short year Steve Wilson has seen his new Flat Bottom V technology reach heights he could have never imagined. During his trip to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Wilson was astonished at how many players were already using Flat Bottom V or who wanted to try it. More astonishing to him was that fact that players were switching over to it during the Olympics. Wilson and Blackstone sports anticipates that as the technology catches on more and more retailers and ice rinks will start to use the Flat Bottom V technology.
So does Wilson believe that the Flat Bottom V will become the new standard in hockey? "Absolutely," responded Wilson when asked that exact question. "There is a lot of younger players coming up that are on it as well. As the retailers buy more and more of this technology, which is what is occurring right now, the younger players that are coming up that's what they'll be looking for."]]>
It’s the offseason, and the Islanders have a lot of questions for their next season
So my fellow columnist Nick M. and I are taking the opportunity to address those questions from you, the followers, with Islanders Hockey Blog’s first ever Mailbag Segment. Send us any of your Islanders related questions, and we’ll read them out and answer them here on the blog.
Tweet your questions to me at @IHB_Dave and to Nick at @IHB_Nick.
You can also email them via Facebook by posting them on the wall of Islanders Hockey Blog’s Official Facebook Group]]>
Newsday reported today that Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, is getting closer to being selected to host the Classic in 2011 or later. Gary Bettman told reporters that "the Wilpon family ‘has been extremely interested and aggressive' in bringing the annual New Year's Day outdoor game to Citi Field."
The idea that Citi field could host the Winter Classic originated after Yankee Stadium was eliminated from contention, due to the newly created Pinstripe Bowl that will be played at the stadium in December.
According to the Newsday piece the driving force behind the game being held at Citi Field is NHL chief operating officer, John Collins. "[It's] a great ballpark and in many respects, as the commissioner said, the 100-year-old ballparks have charm, but there are challenges. Citi Field's got great sightlines, very vertical as opposed to some of the other baseball stadiums and ballparks we've looked at, so it's a great venue."
Although the news comes as a present surprise in all likelihood the Winter Classic will not be held at the state of the art stadium for at least another year. Reports are that the 2011 Classic will be a battle of the stars, Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.]]>
Now here is the video where you can watch the goal and also Rob Schremps reaction to it
Mikko Koskinen played in his first Calder Cup Playoff game, ever, and his first AHL game since October 17 last night in the Sound Tigers 7-2 loss. The second round pick in last years draft helped the Utah Grizzles advance to the second round of ECHL playoff. He will now be looked to salvage what is left of the Sound Tigers chances for advancing in the playoffs.
"There's a good chance," head coach, Jack Capuano said when asked if Koskinen would start today. "We'll talk about, but that's the way were leaning." Koskinen mad seven saves and allowed in the final two goals. Koskinen played 10 games in Utah, including 3 playoff games.
As far as his play last night Capuano thought he played "alright." "We haven't seen much of Mikko. He was in Utah and obviously did real well down there," Capuano later commented. "He's a young prospect for us and he deserves an opportunity just like the other guys."
After a first well played first period by Bridgeport, in which they out shot the Bears 10-5, they caught an unlucky break when a clearing attempt by Mark Flood that bounced off an official and back to the bears. Mathieu Perrault was able to find Andrew Gordon in front of the net and make it a 1-0 game. This would be just one of three goals by Gordon last night. Then 22 seconds later Gordon again would get a goal off of some nice passing making it 2-0. Then at 10:34 Alexander Giroux would on a back hand shot to make it 3-0. Gordon would score his third goal of the game at 11:52 for his first hat trick of the Playoffs. Steve Pinozzotto would score along with Giroux, his second of the night, to make it 6- nothing at the end of two. The Sound Tigers did score twice with Goals by Greg Mauldin and Jeremy Reich and Hershey would get one more from Kyle Wilson to make the final score, 7-2.
"We didn't manage the puck very well," said Capuano. "You have to manage the puck and not turn it over. When you do that it's in the back of your net and it can change the surge and the momentum of the hockey game. And that's exactly what it did."
Aside from the "blatant" turn over's through out the second and third periods, the Sound Tigers did have plenty of opportunities. The Sound Tigers had four power plays, including 11 seconds of 5 on 3 time during one, but went 0 for 4 last night. "I thought the power play could of been a little bit better," commented the Tigers head coach. It will need to be much better if they expect to beat the 6th ranked penalty kill in the Calder Cup Playoffs. On the flip side the Sound Tigers who are ranked 5th in penalty kill in the playoffs only stopped one power play by Hershey, the bears were 3 for 4 on the power play.
Losing Nathan Lawson in Hershey Friday night did not help last nights case, but it's defense that needs to step it up. "We really didn't help Money out at all," Mark Flood said after the game. "We hung him out to dry. Mikko, a bit, too, in the third." "Scott Munroe didn't have a chance," admitted head coach, Jack Capuano. "We didn't move the puck quick enough and the turn over's killed us."
"They execute, their a great team that has great transition with great skill," Capuano said speaking about the Hershey Bears. That's nothing new to head coach, just more evident now after last nights game.
Sidenote- Scott Allan, Frans Nielson, Bruno Gervias, and Blake Comeau were all in attendence last nigt]]>
7:44 At the end of one period the Sound Tigers and Bears are tied at one. The Sound Tigers out shot the Bears 10-5, but went 0-3 on the powerplay. They did not record a shot on any of their three power play chances. Martin, Joensuu, Amac and several others had opertunities to break the deadlock but could not capitilize on chances at hand. Neuvirth did not face to many tough shots and looked relativly calm in the net. Partick McNeill left for the locker room holding his shoulder and has not returned since.
6:53 Live here in Bridgeport, waiting for the puck drop. Check back here between periods for game notes from each period, along wth following the live tweets from @isleshockeyblog.]]>
In Islanders prospect news, 2009 5th round draft pick Anders Lee was named USHL rookie of the year. The 19 year old prospect had 35 goals, 31 assists, and lead the team in scoring with 66 points in 59 games. "Anders is the total package - and to win an Anderson Cup, you need to have a player like Anders Lee on your team," Green Bay Gamblers Head Coach and General Manager Jon Cooper told Islanders Authorized. "What makes him unique is that he can excel in all three zones, and not many players can do that."
Yesterday John Tavares was officially selected to Canada's World Championship team headed to Germany next month.]]>
-Isles will select 5th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft.
-The Isles signed enforcer Trever Gillies to a one year contract extension. I believe he will be a great addition next season as he was for the remainder of the 2010 season. He sticks up for his teammates when needed, and can deliver some hits too. He always brings the energy needed for the Isles on the ice.
- Forward Killi Petrov will join the Islanders next season.
- I can definitely see Matt Martin being in the Isles lineup for the 2010-2011 season.
- I also can see DP returning next season, but he probably wont play more then 15-20 games. (Just trust me on that)
- The Isles will most likely name a new captain. Likely candidates are Okposo, Striet, maybe Hunter.
-Jeff Tambellini will not be back next season. And that's a fact. He was scratched most of the season giving the hint that the Isles wont sign him again.
- The Isles as you know got rid of their home jerseys and will wear their royal blues next season and are working on making matching whites. It will get premiered when the Isles select their 5th overall pick.
More coming soon. Please follow me on twitter at IHB_Nick and you can also follow Christian at IslesHockeyBlog and Dave at IHB_Dave.]]>