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NOTE! Overdrive does not fit the new Bauer skates without the cowling - yet. I'm working on some changes and hope to have something soon.

Jan/2019- So my big skate experiment is over, and a new one has begun. My pair on the 'About Your Skates' page died, cracked in three places on the day I got a pair of Bauer S27's (no shell). I'll write more on the other skates, but quickly, long blades are trouble, tall blades present new problems, and I wish someone would make a boot that I like, especially at the ankle. That is the only problem with the S27's. The ankle is murder. I had ankle bite, wicked lace bite, and reduced control; very worrisome. More later, but other than that, it's a great skate. I love the weight, the blade, the feel (except at the ankle), and the mobility is superb. I'm still testing them out, but if your moves are average, I don't think you'll notice not having Overdrive. But if you have big, strong moves, or if you have superior flexibility, you'll still need Overdrive because you will slip out at the end of your moves. I'll cover this more. I do have Overdrive blades for these skates, but I'm still tweaking them. More soon.

April/19- A quick note. I've played with the S27s for a while now, without the blade, with one blade on, and now with both, and the blade setting is going to have to change. Sorry for the delay, but it has to work right and it really does take a while to test things out. Also, not having a cowling hasn't been a problem, but the other day I took a shot off the outside of my foot, a floater from the blue line, sort of a fluke shot, and I definitely felt it. If these skates soften up over time and with usage, protection will be a problem.


Widening out is dangerous because our legs are built to swing forward and back. Moving against this natural motion creates repetitive stress points. For goaltenders, widening out is destructive to the knees, groin, hips, and back because the moves are done explosively, repetitively, tens of thousands of times a year. While offering better mobility, Overdrive allows you to control your widening out, to reduce it, and often not even to use it by keeping you on your feet.

Below is a strip showing a slipout by Niemi, March, 2018, and below that is a GIF of Jonathan Quick's injury, Oct. 13/16. I can't load too much on the main page, so the Niemi clip will be put on my new page called Injuries2.

On the play, Ekblad broke in alone and deked backhand. Frames 1+3 show the starting position of Niemi's left foot. Frames 2+4 show the extent of the slip, about 6". Frame 5 shows him dropping his trapper to stabilize from the slip. Frames 6+7 show the goal. Note that he is wearing VH skates, which (arguably, says Bauer) offer the best mobility without Overdrive. But this would never happen with Overdrive, because no matter how wide, you always have an edge.
If you didn't know any better, you'd look at this play and say what's the big deal? It's a big deal. Try to remember the last time you slipped on an icy sidewalk. It was a 1" or 2" slip that sent you down. In frame 1, Niemi's legs are super-tight for a big move. Tight muscles are shorter and have less give. And then he slips. It's a serious, almost explosive jolt that puts a ton of pressure on the groin, back and knees. He does an amazing job recovering to widen out, but look at what that does to his body, especially the arching of the back in frame 7. Damage to the back is the mother of all injuries (no joke). Don't think of it as the back, think of it as the spinal column, which supplies your body with everything you need to stay alive. This kind of move is how careers are shortened. More on this clip coming on the Injuries 2 page.

You can clearly see how his right leg booted out as he tried to push off, and this is what caused the injury. This would never have happened with Overdrive. Now LA has serious goalie problems, their season is a big question mark, and a multi-million dollar goalie, the most exciting goalie in the game, is gone. He's had back surgery and groin problems, so this is definitely going to knock his game down a notch, permanently. Goalie injuries are usually the result of a build-up of strains and repetitive stress that ends with a seemingly innocuous move. The boot-out isn't that bad: not a lot of weight is on his right leg as it slides out because he is on his knees and the left knee is taking most of his weight, but it's the end of a long process with most of the damage happened earlier. Overdrive prevents the cumulative wear and tear that leads to injuries like this.

Update, spring/17- Quick came back and looked good, but it was too late, which was too bad for the Kings, because it cost them their season. Other teams are happy the Kings didn't make it to the playoffs, because they would become a very punishing team to play against. Beating the Kings in the playoffs meant you barely survived. Jonathan Quick is the heart of that team, and despite a great effort by Budaj, the Kings couldn't survive without him.

Update, winter/18- Quick couldn't attend the All-Star game because of a nagging lower-body injury, which is very likely related to this one. Generally, injuries are forever, and it's too bad he doesn't have OV, because it would protect that groin and allow it to heal.

About the VH, Bauer 1, Bauer Vertexx, etc.

I'm hearing a lot that these skates remove the need for Overdrive. Not true. They improve mobility either by cutting out the cowling around the big toe or by removing it altogether, thereby giving you a lower 'angle of attack'. If you're unsure about this, I covered it on the 'About the Skates' page, the 'Bauer Vertexx' page, and everywhere else on the site because that is how I invented Overdrive, by identifying the toe area as an impediment to movement. With a full cowling, you get an angle of attack down to 45 degrees, with a cutout cowling or no cowling, maybe down to 35 degrees, with Overdrive, down to 20 degrees. There's no changing these numbers because of the shape of the foot.
While the new skates do improve mobility, you can see it on TV in the way goalies are moving, I'm not so sure they improve safety, because as you can also see on TV, goalies are going down with hip and groin injuries as much as ever. Philadelphia, in the middle of a playoff race, lost both goalies in a week. Calgary lost Mike Smith that week also, likely killing their playoff hopes. I think there's a good reason for this and will write about it on the new 'injuries 2' page.

About legality.
Nothing new here, but Overdrive is not ever going away, at least not until the shape of the foot changes and goalies stop moving laterally. Why? Because when a goalie moves laterally, the ball of the foot is driven into the ice. This will never change.

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