Why Winger Over Center?
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07-03-2013, 08:58 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Triangle
Originally Posted by
Usually players are moved to a wing because they lack certain center skills - the quickness, movement, vision, defense, faceoffs, ability to adapt to various wingers or play against various centers, etc.
This is pretty much it.
Switching from wing to center is surprisingly difficult. You have to skate MUCH farther north-south on every shift, and there's a lot more east-west movement to boot. Your view of the ice has to be 180 degrees instead of 90 degrees. You have to be thinking about the opposing center getting behind you, as opposed to keying on a defenseman's pinch. It's just a whole lot more responsibility without the puck, and when you get the puck it's much a more cerebral situation. Time and space is at a premium down the middle of the ice, so you have to make quick decisions and good passes, while also being in a position to recover. That's before you even get into faceoffs.
Ovechkin is probably THE example of a guy who was born to play wing, given the way he plays the game. The wing favors players who dominate with pure athleticism -- north-south speed, a strong shot, a willingness to gamble with big hits. It also favors great forecheckers and grinders, who have to go lower into the offensive zone and spend more time on the boards.
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