Miken Z9 OPS
View Single Post
05-07-2013, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St Paul, MN
And here are some of my posts on the stick while using:
First game with the Miken Z9 last night. 65 flex BP14 curve with grip.
Wow. Very impressed.
Getting past the "meh" looks, it's interesting and kind of old-school in terms of construction.
The shaft has rounded corners and flat walls, like a Vapor, but it's a bit more substantial. The Vapor feels pretty thin in the hands. You know how the shaft is rectangular with one side longer than the other? The Z9's "shorter" side is a little bit longer, so it's a bit more closer to a square than rectangle, but not overly boxy. It's comfortable for someone like me with a little smaller hands but without being as thin as many intermediates.
There's no fancy taper to this stick. It just tapers down to the blade like you'd expect. No daggers, triangles, ellipses, super narrow, or flare. Just a taper.
The blade is a bit thicker than most sticks nowadays which have gotten super thin. Especially towards the heel. Again just an old-school type construction.
Grip finish is a little different. It's a rubbery matte finish but has more grip than other matte finishes. My gloves have fairly smooth palms so I like a lot of grip and don't really care for too much texture. This worked just fine. I'd say it's not extremely grippy but very comfortable. I believe the top 12" or so is non-grip for stickhandling, which I don't ever care about or notice.
Okay, now on to the first use.
I get to the game late for warmups (as usual) so I jump on the ice and grab a puck and notice two things right off the bat:
1. Balance is PERFECT. PERFECT. You literally don't feel the weight of the stick ever. Some sticks are blade light so they feel heavier in the top hand, some are blade heavy so they feel heavier in the bottom hand...this one is just perfect. First one I've ever encountered.
2. Stick feel is very good. It feels a lot like a wood stick in that the blade is an extension of the shaft but it's got that crispness of composite. Again, first time I touch the ice and grab a puck and I'm moving through scattered pucks on the ice with ease.
This was consistent throughout the night. Made it very easy to play with the puck.
I'm pretty good at knocking down and catching hot and off-target passes and they came off a little hotter on this blade than other modern sticks, but nothing unmanageable. So not perfect, but maybe a trade-off for the feel.
Didn't get enough to make a great judgment on shooting but I'll try and make some observations.
Shots came off feeling heavy. Dunno if that's the same as quick. But they had some weight to them. Hit the boards with a big BANG. Huge thud hitting the pads and glove. Cringes hitting defenders in the groin (sorry).
Again I need to take more shots, but you don't feel the stick flexing, it's more that it shoots without making you aware of the flex. This could be the more mid-flex aspect of this stick. Now I'm coming from a 55 flex which was super whippy, and before that a 70 flex low kick that felt super stiff up top. For my shots (high hands, wrist/snap shot, like to load and release) the flex felt very natural.
Shot accuracy is hard to say. First time using this curve and I'll cover that in the E28/P14 thread. Seems good so far.
Didn't take any slappers with it because I'm awful at them. Well I tried to take one but I whiffed on the puck.
Backhanders were especially heavy and accurate. Maybe this is due to the slightly thicker blade. It just felt very solid and connected, like there was no effort to take a backhand shot. Probably the hardest backhanders I've had to date.
So just one game in, honeymoon, but I'm really happy with this stick. Nothing so far I would change. Dunno if the kick is better, the same, or worse than my favorite to date (Vapor X:60) but everything else is a home run in my opinion.
Okay, first game with the BP14 last night.
Shorter blade made for much easier puck handling. Like very quick puck movement through loose pucks in warmups. Although smaller toe makes for harder drags.
Not much difference in terms of blade lie while puck handling vs P92.
Passing seemed a little easier, especially on the backhand. Not sure why. I was able to lift and flip pucks easier than the P92 front and back.
Forehand shots seem to be lower than the P92. Not sure if this is because the flatter lie at the toe makes you cup the puck more. That's my guess since I think it's essentially a P92 that has been shaved down.
But that flatter lie up front seems to help with accuracy for me. The shots I took were much more on target than they have been lately and more predictable.
I think once I get some practice time and dial in my shot, I'm going to like it. Not sure yet if I'm going to want a bit more loft (like a P08). Maybe lower shots would be good for me.
Went back to my P14 last night. I've avoided it the last few games because it "shoots too low". Well after missing high and wide a few times with my P92 (too whippy as well), sniped one with the P14. Toe drag, defender as a screen, right in corner high glove. Other team actually came to tell me it was a really nice shot. Goalie after the game said she thought someone else had the puck
I still get this nagging feeling like the curve is off, maybe because it's ugly.
This one felt a bit short as well, but shots felt very solid. Left-to-right accuracy is excellent. Shots go a little lower as the loft is neutral until the toe and I shoot from the mid. A bit hard feeling, not soft, with the puck. I get the feeling the P14 is kind of a compromise curve, I like it overall and maybe more if I was playing defense, but then the blade is short and the toe tiny so it's not a great curve for board play.
Tried the 55 flex Warrior again last night, just no can do. Love the weight and puck feel but all my shots torque off target. Same as before, high and wide. Switched to my Miken and had a goal within the first couple shifts.
(from last night per the time stamp)
Used this last night as I'm considering a neutral loft curve and didn't love the Forsberg, as I didn't like the curve starting at the heel. So this was kind of like a P88 with an open toe.
As I've said above, it feels a bit stiff and I like to really feel some whip on the stick and that's a bit of a turnoff. So I have to lean in a lot more and try to use more strength on the shots rather than letting the stick do the work.
I did warmups with a different stick, actually an intermediate SE16 flipped with a junior standard wood blade in it, and that thing was torquing open on every shot I took, missed the net a few times early, and made the switch.
First shot I took went in. And that was the third time I've switched to this stick and scored on the next shot. Why do I keep going away from it? Wrist shot from the left faceoff dot that went five hole on the goalie.
Unfortunately, that was about it for my shots as the other team kicked it up and was able to force me to the boards on breakaways and just not a lot of puck luck from there.
I liked the curve enough to give it another week and hold off on buying a P88 for now (maybe...). I do like the stick, just feel it's a bit stiff.
View Public Profile
Visit Jarick's homepage!
Find More Posts by Jarick