Miken Z9 OPS
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05-07-2013, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St Paul, MN
Miken Z9 OPS
Intermediate 65 flex
BP14 curve (same as Bauer P14)
29 C-league forward, 5'8 and 195
+ excellent accuracy on shots and passes
+ great balance
+ neutral kick point
- flex was a hair stiff
- finish is a little ugly
Stick has a black shaft that is painted white for the lower 1/3 and blade portion. Font is kind of a cheesy 3D orange. It's not a really attractive stick. The white is supposed to help hide the stick with the ice, but I don't know if that's going to make a difference. It does get marked up really quickly with pucks.
Shaft Profile & Grip
The shaft is squared with rounded corners and feels maybe a bit larger than most intermediate sticks. The grip is kind of a matte rubbery finish which is more grippy than most matte sticks but less grippy than gloss grip sticks. It worked find for me but I kind of prefer glossy grip.
Weight & Balance
The listed weight is in the mid 400's and it doesn't feel featherweight light like the latest high end sticks. But the balance is extremely good, probably the best I've ever used. It's a very sturdy feeling stick too with enough heft to feel like it will chop a high-end twig in half!
The blade itself is thicker than most sticks which gives it a different feel. It's solid and crisp but not ceramic or soft. Like a harder version of a thick wood blade. You definitely feel where the puck is on the blade. Hard passes aren't caught quite as easily as a lot of top end sticks but it's certainly not difficult either. A good middle-of-the-road blade.
Flex & Kickpoint
I believe there is no engineered kickpoint for this stick, and there's no fancy dagger or elliptical taper or anything. Just an "old school" tapered shaft into a blade. The listed flex is 65 but it feels stiffer, like a 75+. I do know that Miken offered a number of flexes for senior sticks which was cool, 70, 80, 90, and 100. I wouldn't read into it too much, but for intermediate sticks, the 65 felt a bit stiff. When you lean into shots, there's just a bit of give at the bottom hand, no top hand kick, not overly stiff in the hands, just a natural kick much like a wood stick or your older composites.
Okay, it's a mid/natural kick stick that feels a bit stiff and I'm a wrist shot guy. Not the best combination but not bad either. For the most part, shots come off with lots of power but the release isn't the fastest. This could be me trying to load the stick too much because it's not loading up as quick/much as I would like. But shots are good.
I don't take many slappers, but they come off very strong with this stick. Usually my shots stay low with the slappers, but last night I took a half slapper that got a bit out towards the toe and it was a great shot that was about bar height from the top of the circles. Again, if you've got a good slapper, I think this stick will work great for you.
Accuracy is fantastic, high and low, left to right, the puck goes where I aim on shots and passes. Saucer passes are very easy to execute.
A little hard to judge as this stick went in and out of the rotation due to the curve, but the paint is just full of black puck marks and the the paint on the blade has peeled off with tape. Yet there is not a gouge, chip, or crack anywhere on the stick. It feels like a tank and so far has held up like one. If and when the stick ever dies, I'll post back, but I think this is a pretty durable stick.
So why do a review on a clearance stick? Well, two reasons. First, maybe somehow Miken sees the feedback and continues to refine their sticks (they were very active on other hockey websites). Second, there are still some out there for under $100 in pretty much every curve and flex.
This is a pretty good all-around stick. It's not designed for any one shot or player type, the balance is great, weight is good, puck feel is middle of the road, and durability seems excellent. At the price it's a no-brainer.
I'm not sure if Miken's still in the stick game, but it seems like they made huge strides between their first and second offerings and I would love to see what they do down the road.
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