The Sharks and Wild had a flurry of broken sticks in a penalty kill situation Thursday night. Why don’t defensive players and penalty-killers turn to the more sturdy wood option?
Full disclosure: I’m a supporter of wooden hockey sticks. I still refuse to move over to composite and last year bought a bunch of wood to make sure I would have it in my shinny and pickup arsenal for years to come.
Call me old school. Call me a curmudgeon. Just know I have a wooden stick in my hands when you do.
So when I see shifts – especially penalty kill shifts – like the one in San Jose Thursday night, I clench my fist. In a short span, three sticks snapped: two for the shorthanded Sharks, one for the Wild. It was an exciting shift to be sure, but look at the stick carnage…
Now, I’m not going to sit here and say every NHL player should pick up a wood stick again. But it’s times like these I wonder why a player such as Brad Stuart, Andrew Desjardins, or any collection of players on the ice to kill a penalty, don’t use the more sturdy wood option. Why does a defensive specialist on the blueline need the extra torque of a composite? Does Desjardins need the lighter composite to score his three or four goals in a season? Why can’t penalty-killers switch over to wood for one shift, just to guard against what happened to the Sharks last night?
It didn’t burn San Jose this time, partly because the Wild couldn’t hit the net to save their lives and partly because Ryan Suter’s stick shattered at a convenient time.
Composites don’t break on every PK and wooden sticks will break from time to time too, but it’s all about probability on the NHL stage. I think it would be better to bring down the odds of your stick shattering at times when the benefit of a composite is nullified. And if you aren’t an offensive player, why not use a more defensively friendly stick all the time?
Plus, it might sting a little more on the back of an opposing player’s leg…
Which do you prefer: wood or composite?