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07-02-2012, 10:52 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Originally Posted by
I've played hockey since I was 4. This is not true at all. Everyone has a preference and as kids right D played the left side just as often as the opposite. It's very much a Sacco thing.
I'm sorry I don't care if you've been playing since Howie Morenz, you're quite simple wrong. This is not a Sacco thing at all, as much as I don't like him. The list of left handed defenseman in the league that have played their off wing in spurts or consistently is probably twice as long as the right handed ones.
Teams used to have to scour the league looking for right handed D to trade or sign. The Avs had this problem ever since they lost Foote and Blake, and have been trying ever since to have that kind of balance. As it is (not including Elliott and Barrie since there's 7 vets ahead of them) they only have two right handed defenseman. Why would they then move a guy like O'Byrne to his off side, and then consequently have to also move a lefty to his off side?
Over the years I can think of Hannan, Clarke, Quincey, Kasparitis, Leopold, Marchment, Salei, Skrastins, Vaananen, Liles, and recently under Sacco, O'Brien, and Wilson all spending significant time on their off left side.
I can think of a couple of games where the Avs tried Foote and Morris on their off left side. That's it. Maybe some of the guys on the original Avalanche group, but I don't remember the pairings well enough from back then to say either way.
It's been the same way for pretty much every team up until the last few years, where the larger group of kids that grew up playing as righties have started to enter the league and establish themselves, and so there hasn't been quite the unbalance between lefties and right handed D in the league.
Just from a simple google search I found multiple articles talking about the same thing.
70 percent of all N.H.L. defensemen, but those statistics were not sorted by nationality.
And the Norris Trophy is an indication of the paucity of right-shot blue-liners over the years. The award, which goes to the league's top defenseman, has been handed out since 1954 and the only righties to win it are Chris Chelios (three times), retired Shark Rob Blake and Al MacInnis.
In a perfect world, teams would match up left and right shots on their defensive pairings. (The Sharks currently have four of each on their roster.)
"You're more comfortable getting pucks off the boards on your forehand than you would on your backhand," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "It also makes it easier to go back and retrieve pucks."
Just as a left-handed pitcher forces batters to adjust, a right-shot defenseman also can give a hockey team's power play a new look.
"Power plays always are set up for the left shot because there's more of them," Blake said. "That's why for most teams, the right shot becomes the offside one-timer."
Roughly 3 in 10 NHL Defensemen are right-handed shots, but given that half the available jobs are on the right side of the ice, lots of players are being asked to play on the opposite side from where they learned the game.
I still don't know that I feel comfortable, Gorges said recently. I'm still learning. I mean, I played on the left for 21 years. It's really amazing how 35 feet to the other side can change your whole outlook on the game. Everything kind of seems to happen on fast-forward.
There are advantages: A left-handed shot on the right has his stick-blade in the centre of the ice when facing shooters, and it's easier to intercept passes.
But there are also problems, like trying to hold a puck in the offensive zone with a hard-charging opponent in your face. That's hard enough to do on the forehand, Gorges said.
The biggest drawback, he added, is emerging from behind the net or making dump-ins at the opposing blueline. You're exposing your back to the middle of the ice, guys can crunch you and you might not see them coming.
Right-handed shots are at a premium on bluelines across the NHL. The Habs have only one righty, Ryan O'Byrne.
In acquiring Ian White and Steve Staios, the Calgary Flames have restored balance to their corps of regular blueliners four lefties, three righties.
But that's the exception rather than the rule. Minnesota, the Rangers and Buffalo have a similar mix, but Philadelphia, New Jersey and Florida have all-lefty defencemen.
More than a half dozen other teams have just one right-handed shot on defence in some cases none in their top six including Carolina, Columbus, Detroit, the Islanders and Colorado.
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