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Kessel quiet on stick swap Add to ...

After going through a recent skid in which he had only two goals and 10 points in 20 games, Leafs sniper Phil Kessel opted for a change in the stick department - and it appears to be working.

Kessel went from a Bauer X:60 stick to one made by Easton, believed to be an S19, for the game Jan. 29 against the Devils, and has scored five goals and eight points in his past four games.

Kessel, however, generally keeps his stick well taped up and won't say anything about the change.

"I told someone yesterday, I'm not going to talk about it," he said at practice last week before walking away.

Never one for much conversation, Kessel's silence on this front likely stems from the fact he is, like many NHL stars, one of Bauer's poster boys, part of ad campaigns and YouTube videos like this one on how he tapes his sticks.

Using an Easton stick while endorsed by another company, even if the X:60 wasn't working for him, is considered a bit of a no-no for obvious reasons.

The company itself says Kessel's jump is part of a larger trend in the NHL, and that 47 per cent of players in the league are now using Easton sticks (twice as many as Bauer, which is in second spot). A spokesman said "53 other NHL players have recently made the switch," a group that includes Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

The only Leafs player I know I've seen with the stick is Ian White, who is no longer with the team, but there certainly could be more. It's possible Kessel simply picked one up that belonged to a teammate and decided to switch.

I personally haven't bought many $240 sticks lately (more of a shinny player) but Philadelphia-area hockey writer Dustin Leed says he's an equipment nut and offered his thoughts on why so many players, like Kessel, are moving over.

"Bauer sticks just break too easily. Easton's are just better," Leed said in an email. "Lighter and a lot more durable.

"Lots of guys are leaving Bauer and going to Easton and Warrior. Bauer has to pay a lot of guys extra money to use their sticks and stuff - and a lot of teams have contracts with the company to use their stuff."

The Flyers, he said, being one of them.

Just an interesting tidbit I thought I'd pass along.

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