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How Much Does "A Blocker Is A Blocker" relate to you?


coopaloop1234

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Let's talk about the red-headed stepchild of the glove world.

The Blocker

We've all heard the mantra "A blocker is a blocker is a blocker". We hear this often from many members of our union and how as long as the overall function of the blocker is adequate that they don't care about the specs or feel of it. As in their mind, they're all the same.

But how much does this relate to you?

After talking with @cwarnar and his ongoing issues of being able to choose his next set. (Make up your mind bud). We got to talking about blockers and whether or not they really mean much to us in the overall gear picture.

For myself, I've never followed the "blocker is a blocker" idea. I'm lucky enough to live very close to a premium goalie gear retailer (The Hockey Shop), so I'm very familiar with each piece of new gear that hits the shelves. I've tried on every glove, every blocker, every pad, etc. that comes out.

I don't like CCM or Brians blockers. Brians gloves have always been super hit or miss with me, but their blockers have always felt cheap and like a very large afterthought in their gear.

CCM gloves/blockers are just bad. This is very opinion based, but I never understood why guys like their gloves/blockers so much. They always feel very odd in my hand and they never feel like a premium piece of gear.

I like the new Bauer blockers, I think they're doing great things with their revamped lines.

The SLR blocker feels off, but the PVE and Velocity blockers would sit in my second place category.

And surprise, surprise, my favourite blocker is the Warrior. The glove feels great, the finger protection is fantastic, none of it ever bunches on itself, and the ability to not only wash but change the hand placement is a very large quality of life feature that I really do appreciate.

Are you guys as picky as I am about blockers? Less? Even worse?!?!?

What are features or specs on your blockers that you just can't live without?

Or am I just one the few that are just a tad too picky about my blocker?

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A blocker is not just a blocker and in my opinion is very personal. I like a blocker with dead rebounds like the optik because they are easier to control rebounds. I found the supreme 1s blocker had so much stiffness that it couldn’t redirect up and it just pops straight  out. My optik puts pucks in corners or out of play or sometimes they just die for an easy cover. I also need a snug blocker that is light weight. Optik is the way to go

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One thing I focus on with blockers is the thickness of the board, which affects weight, which affects how floppy the blocker will feel down the line. 

I have both a V6 2000 and 2200 blocker and there is a huge difference with these. They feel completely different due to the thickness of the board and the glove placement.  So that's the same company and even the same generation and they are really different. 

My VE8 is much more akin to the thinner 2200 which I why I went with it. 

I'm like you Coop, I never bought into the blocker-is-just-a-blocker idea.

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A blocker is a blocker to me, I’m VERY picky about my catcher and the styles i like versus the ones I hate, in fact I hate most catchers I try on especially Bauer and Warrior gloves, to me they’re all terrible. Moving from a Bauer NXG blocker to a Brian’s Genetik 4 was easy for me. I also live near plenty of hockey stores and get to try on lots of new gear, never tried on a blocker that blew me away or one that I hated either, the pro level blockers kind of all feel the same to me. I guess the one feature I do like in newer pro level blockers is the grip technology in the palm but pretty much every blocker has that nowadays. 

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Good thread, @coopaloop1234.

I have always thought “ABIAB“ is non-sense.

More accurately, a problem with a blocker can be a huge problem. For me, the most important thing about a blocker is the palm and the area where it interfaces with the paddle. If there is extra or oddly-shaped padding that interferes with my grip and/or changing from stance-mode to puckhandling-mode, its a massive problem for me.

For example, I had a ton of trouble with the overlapping padding and stiffness of my 1X blocker. The only way I could make it work was to use a combination of heat and a spreader to pull the area between the thumb and forefinger padding apart enough for proper clearance. 

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those are good points @Doc1200.  Blockers are for sure less interesting and less divisive, simply because as a piece of gear they are the most, well, simple.  So you have to really look at nuances to start differentiating one from the other.

I'm sure we could all put on just about any blocker and be fine by the 2nd period.  Probably not the case with gloves or pads.

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I think part of the issue is simply what goalies have access to or want to try.

I've used Bauer, Vaughn, Simmons/Boddam, CCM/Koho, Smith/Warrior and Brians for blockers.  

I do love the Warrior blocker in terms of function and weight (I think the addition of HyperComp really will improve the rebounds) but I think Bauer takes the cake on the blocker market.  The 2X Pro I demo'd had great balance, plush materials along with the hot rebounds.

And remember @coopaloop1234 most of us don't get the liberty of having a super duper gear retailer locally that carries most major lines and brands (No one in Regina carried the Optik or now the SLR 2)

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38 minutes ago, seagoal said:

I'm sure we could all put on just about any blocker and be fine by the 2nd period.  Probably not the case with gloves or pads.

I think everyone here can definitely attest to this. I don't have any doubts that we could be tossed any blocker and be fine with it.

But

What's the point of posting on a gear forum if we can't scrutinize every piece of gear to the absolute maximum? ;)

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7 minutes ago, coopaloop1234 said:

What's the point of posting on a gear forum if we can't scrutinize every piece of gear to the absolute maximum? ;)

Here's the most interesting part tho... How many guys regularly ask for blocker mods or ask guys "what are your blocker specs?"  While being one of the more important pieces of gear no one bats an eyelash at them.

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1 minute ago, cwarnar said:

Here's the most interesting part tho... How many guys regularly ask for blocker mods or ask guys "what are your blocker specs?"  While being one of the more important pieces of gear no one bats an eyelash at them.

Interesting point. How many blocker mods really are there? And how many are regularly available?

I know CCM has a few options available at retail. Palm position, finger protection glove type, and binding or not.

What do the rest have? Int/Snr sized palms?

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6 minutes ago, cwarnar said:

Here's the most interesting part tho... How many guys regularly ask for blocker mods or ask guys "what are your blocker specs?"  While being one of the more important pieces of gear no one bats an eyelash at them.

Good point.  Fairly common to see a list of mods for pads and glove followed by a stock blocker.

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I never used to be too picky. I figured you picked a blocker to either match the full set or the glove if you were going dissimilar. For aesthetic purposes, I hated any blocker with a binding and would never buy one. I also preferred the look of 2 piece sidewall to a single, but that was not a deal breaker for me.

Since I turned into the goalie-bride-zilla affectionately known as TGN, I have gotten very picky about blockers. Probably more so than catch gloves now.

Since TGN has started, Ive used Gnetik 1, Factory Mad, 1S, Optik, P2, EF4, 2X, and custom GNetik IV.

Here are my thoughts:

1. Every company has a slightly different inner glove hand size -  If the glove is not tight on my hand it just feels sloppy. I have tried to get this over and cannot. GNetik 1, 1S, and 2X were too big and jaded my experience with that product. I switched GNetik 1 and 2X to a smaller glove that lines up with CCM / new Brian's

2. Hand high - This is another option I don't like. I want my hand in the middle of the blocker board. The balance never feels right otherwise

3. Finger protection for the index fingers - There's a countless number of options here. It's one thing I took for granted until TGN started and it actually scares me with a few of the designs out there and high level shooters

4. Rebounds - Everyone claims they have hot rebounds now and everyone's definition of hot is different. In my opinion, any blocker not using a composite or plastic in the face is not performing as well as it could. The HD foam in the face wears down overtime and your blockers we lose pop.

A blocker IS NOT a blocker

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26 minutes ago, coopaloop1234 said:

What do the rest have? Int/Snr sized palms?

Not much... When you look at customizers its pretty slim pickings:

Bauer: Palm size

Brian's: Palm Size, Strapping and Lexan upgrade

CCM: Palm size/material, palm position, binding/less, fingerprotection, cuff 

Vaughn: Palm Size

Warrior: Palm size (in fairness Warrior also has the removable palm with the high, mid and low settings)

As always I'm sure there's a few "pro only" options as well

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1 hour ago, TheGoalNet said:

A blocker IS NOT a blocker

This brings up the question, does the exposure to a lot of different brands lead to a more nuanced opinion on what you want out of a blocker?

I know before I started to really dive into gear, I don't think I really cared toooo much but as my exposure to gear has increased (mostly due to lots of time at the hockey shop waiting on skates), my opinion and required specifications on gear has become more nuanced.

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14 minutes ago, coopaloop1234 said:

This brings up the question, does the exposure to a lot of different brands lead to a more nuanced opinion on what you want out of a blocker?

I know before I started to really dive into gear, I don't think I really cared toooo much but as my exposure to gear has increased (mostly due to lots of time at the hockey shop waiting on skates), my opinion and required specifications on gear has become more nuanced.

That's a good point and I'd say yes, absolutely. 

Being a regular on here alone is enough to a make the mind wander and wonder and pay attention.  One of the bittersweet parts of hanging out with you guys is the sorta peer pressure of gear stuff.  I've made a lot of changes to my gear just because I am on here all the time.  I want a set of EF4s now too .

I'm sure it'd be way worse (read: better?)  for me if I had access to goalie gear in a shop here in town, but I don't.  Surrey is the closest for us down here.

I know a lot of goalies, most goalies in fact, who just don't care about gear and don't pay attention and don't really think about gear at all.  I had a goalie just the other day say "what the hell is that thing?" at my Pro Laces.  Bungee cords in general were completely new for him.  He's definitely a blocker-is-a-blocker goalie.

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33 minutes ago, coopaloop1234 said:

This brings up the question, does the exposure to a lot of different brands lead to a more nuanced opinion on what you want out of a blocker?

I know before I started to really dive into gear, I don't think I really cared toooo much but as my exposure to gear has increased (mostly due to lots of time at the hockey shop waiting on skates), my opinion and required specifications on gear has become more nuanced.

Yes, I am starting to appreciate that ignorance is bliss with gear. If you are playing alright and happy with stuff, don't mess with it!

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19 minutes ago, seagoal said:

I know a lot of goalies, most goalies in fact, who just don't care about gear and don't pay attention and don't really think about gear at all.  I had a goalie just the other day say "what the hell is that thing?" at my Pro Laces.  Bungee cords in general were completely new for him.  He's definitely a blocker-is-a-blocker goalie.

You even see this at a pro level... lots of NHL guys just wear what shows up and don't even know their specs. 

I'm the same as you, lots of regular teams I sub with constantly talk about how I've got new or different pieces of gear.  I think because most of the goalie community doesn't get to the degree of gear lust that most of us regulars do, they just wear whatever.  I still routinely see guys who have "always" used Vaughn that don't even move to the newer, lighter and more functional brands.

These groups and boards are definitely the driving force behind the quest for new gear.

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3 hours ago, cwarnar said:

I think part of the issue is simply what goalies have access to or want to try.

I've used Bauer, Vaughn, Simmons/Boddam, CCM/Koho, Smith/Warrior and Brians for blockers.  

I do love the Warrior blocker in terms of function and weight (I think the addition of HyperComp really will improve the rebounds) but I think Bauer takes the cake on the blocker market.  The 2X Pro I demo'd had great balance, plush materials along with the hot rebounds.

And remember @coopaloop1234 most of us don't get the liberty of having a super duper gear retailer locally that carries most major lines and brands (No one in Regina carried the Optik or now the SLR 2)

This post and the one by @Jonathon v point out how much preference is involved in gear... "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" sort of thing

I think the 2X pro has some of the most underwhelming finger protection on the market and I already highlighted that I feel the palm size is too big and @cwarnar likes it. And no @coopaloop1234 don't accuse me of having tiny hands! I am 6'2''... I can't palm a basketball, but I am not small

@Brians_Joz acknowledged in his Optik 2 video yesterday that the Optik 1 blocker was probably the least popular piece about that line. I also found the rebound to be not as hot as the competition. @Jonathon v loves it though and doesn't want too hot a rebound

Are any of us wrong? Nope. There may be consensus about what the trends in blockers are right now, but everyone def has their preference

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I don’t think a blocker is just a blocker but the main things i look for are a right fitting Palm, solid finger protection and solid sidewall protection. The board stiffness in my experience doesn’t matter if you have proper technique with how you angle your wrist on blocker saves. I could launch pucks from center ice to the blue line angling my wrist right on my v7 where it only has a very thin piece of carbon on the face that isn’t even the full length of the board 

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A blocker is a blocker, until it's a bad blocker. That is to say, I don't really care, until I don't like it. The only blocker I can remember trying on that I absolutely didn't like was the CCM EFlex. Beyond the aesthetics of how CCM blockers are built, which I don't care for at all, it just felt soft. Past that, It's absolute the lowest priority on the list when I'm shopping for a new matching set.

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block is a blocker ... until i break a finger. Really though unless every guy i faced had a cannon shot I'd beef it up but for pick ups my Bauer RX6 Special Edition works fine Don't laugh it's actually not a bad blocker at all ... and for some reason, today, I blocked more shots than normal with it...

flat rebounds

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