There it is. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
At the start of the 2008 NHL season, Mike Green came to camp with just 15 sticks. They were Easton Stealth CNTs. At the time, Green said his sticks had been discontinued for “a while.” He would be getting no more. Over the course of that season, Green posted unbelievable numbers for a defensemen, scoring 31 goals. Looking at the goal leaderboard for that season, Green is just below some of the most high flying scorers in the league: Malkin, Toews, and Crosby to name a few.
At one point Green scored a stunning 10 times in eight straight games. The goals during the streak all came off the same Easton, which Green said was the best stick he’s ever played with. Reluctantly, he agreed to donate it to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“You can only be superstitious for so long,” Green said.
Green’s moment of reckoning came on May 2, 2009. Playing in game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Green broke his last surviving Stealth CNT.
For the next game, he changed to a heavier, less flexible Easton S17. It didn’t go well.
“I felt like I was stick-handling for the first time again,” he told reporters at the time. “It’s not the same feel at all.”
Green, for his part, went back to being superstitious. The Caps had the Hall of Fame stick packed, but they never sent in off. It was in Green’s hands by the end of the series. Somewhere along the line, that one broke too, concluding the story.
— Jared Spears (@jspears8) February 26, 2015
Six years later, however, the Easton is back. But where did it come from? Green found it hidden in storage in his garage two weeks ago. Now, Green is determined to pick up as many as he can. Recently, Green learned that Karl Alzner has a Stealth CNT from seven years ago in his garage up in British Columbia. That stick is currently on its way to Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
“I’m slowly trying to collect them,” said Green, who is open to anything, including eBay, “if there’s any out there.”
Green didn’t allow me anywhere near the stick he’s using now. That’s understandable, considering it’s like going to the National Archives and asking if you can take the Declaration of Independence out for some Snapchats.
The old stick hasn’t turned Green into the brilliant goal scoring power house he was back in the day. However, Green is playing his best hockey in years, playing a vital part in Washington’s offense, mostly on the power play. Green’s resurgence comes from improved health and the fact that he’s no longer playing a defensive system that forced him to make defensive-zone passes that weren’t there. Or maybe his improved play is due to the heavenly Stealth.
“They are just not the same,” Green said of the current models. “It might be the balance, just sort of the way they had it back then.”
“It’s just feel,” Green said when I asked him what makes the perfect stick. “There’s no specifics to it other than square shaft, softer blade, and the good feeling of a well balanced stick.”
“The one that I’m using now just feels so good,” he concluded. “That stick is incredible.”
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