Back in October, the folks over at Easton Hockey sent us their brand new Stealth RS one-piece hockey stick to review. In my initial review, I liked the feel of the puck on the stick and felt that the accuracy and shooting was better in this model than previous Stealth models. However, it seems with Easton that durability is constantly an issue but the RS seemed to be well made. So after several weeks of use on the rink in games, how has the Stealth RS held up? Check out my updated Stealth RS hockey stick review:
Specs: Easton Stealth RS, Grip finish, Iginla curve, 100 flex
Modifications: Cut two inches off the butt of the stick
Appearance and Design:
There were a few small manufacturing defects that I initially noticed in the blade of the RS when I first received the stick. I decided to leave these in place, opting not to sand them off or otherwise alter the stick. So far, these small defects haven’t had much of an impact on my game and would be easy enough to get rid of had I put the effort forth.
Matte finishes seem to be the latest trend in stick design. This is my second stick with a matte finish, the first being a Warrior AK one-piece stick. However, the finish on that stick seemed to chip with any little touch to the shaft. That problem isn’t nearly as pronounced with the Stealth RS. Obviously the shaft shows signs of wear after several games, but the matte finish has held up much better than the finish of the Warrior AK.
The stick shows minor wear and a few scuff marks, and the yellow stripe at the bottom of the blade has basically worn off, but overall I am surprised how well the shaft has held up.
I’ve used this stick for both ice and roller hockey and I really like how the puck feels on this stick. It isn’t the lightest stick on the market, but Easton did a good job of balancing it out so that you get a good feel when you touch the puck. I find myself skating with my head up more thanks to the increased feel, especially in roller hockey where the puck is much lighter.
Shooting and Accuracy:
As you probably read in my initial impressions review, I had a major issue with shooting and accuracy using my previous Stealth S17. While most of these issues are diminished, some are still present and I fault those issues on the elliptical TORX technology on the lower part of the shaft.
Accuracy with this stick is better, but still inconsistent. While wrist shots usually go where I want them to, I sometimes feel as if my shots are released prematurely and go wide of my target. Still, it is capable of producing powerful wrist shots that generally go where I intend them to.
Unfortunately, slapshots fair a tad worse. I find that my slapshots tend to pull a little wide when I really lean into a shot, which I blame on the elliptical TORX shaft on the stick since I don’t have this issue with any other stick. Still, the problems are not as severe as they were with my previous S17.
The great thing about this stick is the “pop” that you get off of shots. The release is quick and can produce faster shots with seemingly less effort. Still, I seem to sacrifice some accuracy in order to get faster shots. So it’s a toss up if you’re willing to sacrifice accuracy for speed.
This is one area that I really wanted to focus on since Easton has a rocky reputation when it comes to consistent durability in their stick lines. And after my initial impressions review of the stick, I had high hopes for the build and quality. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Stealth RS delivers on durability.
Let me preface this by saying that my stick personally has held up fine so far. The shaft is solidly constructed and doesn’t feel flimsy or fragile in the least and there aren’t any chips rattling around the inside either. The blade looks very good and doesn’t have any cracks or other serious damage despite heavy use. So far, my usage experience has been very good.
But that can’t be said for everyone who uses the stick. Take a look at this quote from Hockey World Blog reader Don:
“I have gone through 3 stealth RS in 90 days one under warranty and two this week after the blades fall apart. The sticks crack along the bottom of the blades then they brake. I took the two sticks in where I bought them from they were going to show the Easton rep. One was cracked along the bottom still had all the yellow paint the blade looked like new. Other stick cracked along bottom and worked up the blade one more shot and it would of blew up. So basically I never got 30 days out each stick. Worst stick I have owned. Nice stick to shoot but not worth the money.”
After doing some research on the web, it became apparent that cracks in the blade and other durability issues having to do with the blades of these sticks is very widespread and common.
Like I said, my experience has been good so far, so I will continue to monitor the durability of the stick, especially the blade, in weeks to come. However, Easton has a poor reputation amongst recreational players regarding durability and it seems as if the problem hasn’t been resolved.
The best things about this stick are the feel for the puck and the “pop” that you get off of shots. However, it’s very clear that this stick is not meant for everyone. A forward would likely benefit more from the stick than a defenseman or all-around player based on which features stand out on the Stealth RS and which hold it back. It is difficult to ignore the durability issues, but if you’re an Easton fan looking for a good puck-handling stick with an excellent “pop”, the Stealth RS may be for you.
Thinking of buying a new stick? Be sure to check out our reviews of other sticks including the Reebok Ai9, the Warrior AK and the Miken Razor Z9. And be sure to visit Pure Hockey before you buy and use the coupon code HOCKEYWORLD at checkout to receive 10% off your purchase!