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09-10-2009, 03:07 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Originally Posted by
I hear a lot of talk about "Natural centers" and "Natural wingers".
Just wanted to get people's takes on what exactly you think are the traits that make someone one or the other?
I think this is a legit question, but one part that have not been covered -- that I think is the most important part of this question is when a player is "not" a natrual center or winger.
Like especially on a board like this you hear people saying that this and that winger definitly could play center, or the other way around. While that definitly don't have to be the case.
A center needs to be able to carry the puck, look up, and make decisions with it while stickhandling. Its very common during games that a center is expected to go deep and retrive the puck in his own end. If you play against a center who can't do that, all you need to do is to take away his passing options.
That is not something a winger get to practise much on at all actually in game situations. Its not at all uncommon that when a winger in the NHL is tested at center, its in this area he really falls short. I would say that 80% of all wingers in the NHL could not play as a center because they couldn't handle that aspect of the game in the NHL. And if you play against a team like the NJD, theyd set up a trap designed to take advantage of a center like that right away. When NYR had Strudwick on D NJD went in really hard on everyone else to get Struds to skate the puck up ice for exampel.
So especially when say that a player isn't a natrual center, its because he couldn't handle thoose aspects of the center duty.
Its also why its often valuble for a winger to have played some center at a young age. Like you only look like a fool if you go deep in your own end and transports the puck up ice and fumbles on it, while you don't get much praise for it if you succed. But its definitly valuble for a winger to to be able to do it once in a while. It definitly take some nerve to do it, and you won't get that unless you practise on it in game situations. Like take a player like Rich Nash, he got awsome hands and is one of the most talented players in the game -- but I think he would feel very uncomfortable at center just because hed get to go deep and take the puck up ice shift after shift after shift
For a center it can be pretty darn hard to get involved in the play if he plays wing. A winger often gets a pass from behind up along the board or from center ice towards the boards. During that process he also often needs to accelerate.
Often when a center plays wing he'll often just break up in thoose situations; while like a natrual winger like a Marian Hossa can do it all at the same time. So its not at all uncommon that a center who is great at skating with the puck and is dangerous in 1 on 1 situations can end up never transporting the puck if he is put on the wing.
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