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Natural positions?

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Old
08-30-2009, 01:23 PM
  #1
psulion11
 
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Natural positions?

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?

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08-30-2009, 01:26 PM
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Gunnar Stahl 30
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its where you feel most comfortable

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08-30-2009, 01:59 PM
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raganblink
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Originally Posted by Gunnar Stahl 30 View Post
its where you feel most comfortable
i thought it was blood type. I'm A negative, so therefore I play left d.
a and o positive are your centers and wingers, b positive and ab positive play right d, a negative and o negative play left d, and b negative and ab negative are the goalies.

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08-30-2009, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by psulion11 View Post
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?
Gunner Stahl pretty much covered it... so I guess I'll go into traits.

Centres need to be as good with the puck as they are without it, and strong backcheckers. They also need to be good on the faceoff and adept passers.

Wingers need to be stronger along the boards, and will generally need to be better shooters.


Some players translate well from position to position, while others don't.

Rick Nash, for example, didn't prove very effective in a short stint at centre in Columbus because of his less-than-stellar play without the puck and his inability to set up plays.

Mats Sundin entered the league as a left-winger, but his size, two-way play, and faceoff abilities made him a perfect fit as a centre. He didn't score as much as he could have as a winger, but he still had a strong career.

Eric Staal translates into a solid winger because of his "shoot first" mentality and his incredible athleticism.

Evgeni Malkin can play centre or wing, but he's much better at centre since he gets to play to his strength, which is skating around with the puck and making others look foolish.

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09-03-2009, 12:07 AM
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Defensiveman need to have, probably, the best vision of the ice to move the puck effeciently, to the right team. Odviously need to be strong as well, speed is handy for creating open ice or just getting to the puck a bit quicker to have a split second more to look for the open man

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09-03-2009, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by eric71 View Post
Defensiveman need to have, probably, the best vision of the ice to move the puck effeciently, to the right team. Odviously need to be strong as well, speed is handy for creating open ice or just getting to the puck a bit quicker to have a split second more to look for the open man
That's very debatable. When making fancy plays in the defensive zone, yes, but that's generally not done. In the offensive zone Defensemen have a lot more time to find and decide on an action then a center would. How many times have you seen a defenseman hold it at the point while they decide to shoot or where to pass? It's because they have the time and distance to do that.

As a center, the difference is very obvious to me anytime I have to fall back to the point. I have a LOT more time on the point, and there's one guy at most pressuring you, it's pretty easy to move around and shoot or make a pass. Playing at center, you often only get one glance before you pass, and if you don't already know where your teammates are, you're not going to see an open pass and you're not going to make much of one.

Vision is not what you can do with what you see. In fact, the less you need to actually look the better your vision is.

Defense have the best view of the ice. Centers pretty much always have the best vision. There are Defense with great vision, don't get me wrong, but the position doesn't require it.


On the original subject on what traits are best for which positions...

Natural Centers need to be creative, have vision, and be strong skaters, and have to be willing to backcheck and play any position. Center is the position where you're in the thick of things on offense and defense. You're responsible for running the play in the offensive zone, and you're responsible as the third defenseman. That's where the "strong skater" comes in. If you're not tired after a shift at center, you're doing it wrong. You have to play all positions because it's your job to cover the point, and when in the offensive zone forwards very often change up postions.

Winger: The ideal winger type would have great acceleration and a strong accurate shot, as well as good hands. Gotta be able to dive into the zone and do something, be it taking a shot or making a move to open up room. Physical play is also a great asset here.

Defense: Gotta be very calm and rational. Defense can't be impulsive, you can't bite on a move. Gotta be a very strong backwards skater and you have to be very mobile and strong on your skates, and by that I don't mean speed. I mean moves with feet to block shots, you have to have good balance to push against opposing players, and to match players movements as they dive into the zone.

Goalie: Gotta be flat out insane.


Last edited by cptjeff: 09-03-2009 at 01:00 AM.
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09-03-2009, 01:27 AM
  #7
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I never really bought the natural position term, in the way "natural" really means, I guess. Your natural position is the position you best excel/feel most comfortable at a young age or when your start your career (for pros/juniors as many of them play multiple positions before then). So in a way it's their "natural" position but not entirely. Some players also have skill sets that allow them to excel in one position rather than another. For me, I really have no natural position. I can switch back and forth between wing (can play both wings but prefer right wing because I'm more of a shooter and I'm a lefty so shooting on my off wing is advantageous for me) and center whenever although that takes a little more practice and thought since both have different responsibilities. I prefer center though because I have a lot more freedom and can be a little more creative. I think we just apply the term natural "center" or "wing" to guys that are just so much better at that one position than the other.

Basically I've proved there's such thing as natural positions. Or not. Who cares, it's late and I'm pain medication for a kidney infection.


Last edited by vwg*: 09-03-2009 at 01:32 AM.
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09-03-2009, 02:10 AM
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I'll agree with the D-Men not needing as much vision.

I actually moved back on D because I was horrible at making those split second decisions Centers have to make. As a D-Man, I have all day to watch a play develop and pick and choose who gets the puck.

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09-03-2009, 02:31 AM
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I always felt more comfortable playing RW, just felt "natural" there even though i shoot right. Every coach i ever had always had me playing LW. Some would give in and let me play RW.

The only way i can explain the difference is like when you first learn to stop. One side feels good but then the other always feels weird.

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09-03-2009, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by CanadaBacon View Post
I always felt more comfortable playing RW, just felt "natural" there even though i shoot right. Every coach i ever had always had me playing LW. Some would give in and let me play RW.

The only way i can explain the difference is like when you first learn to stop. One side feels good but then the other always feels weird.
Yeah, for me, it's always about stopping. I can only stop on my right foot (right foot forward, left foot behind), so I started with LW, because I could skate back into my own zone for defense and stop easier. I tried a few games of RW, but it just didint feel right for me, even though I could stop effectively in the offensive zone. I think it's just cuz I'm a more defensive winger

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09-03-2009, 11:39 AM
  #11
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cpjeff made a great, thorough post but I tend to look at "natural position" as a psych profile.

center -- strong leadership skills, wants to control play in all 3 zones, has good awareness of where his team mates are at all times.
wing -- impulsive, shifty, likes to shoot and prefers to initiate rather than react
defense -- prohibitive, stifling, prefers to react rather than initiate
goalie -- loner, masochist with a hero complex. "Most important guy on the ice".

Given these profiles I'm a natural defenseman who's currently playing wing. Remember on Seinfeld when George did the exact opposite of what he would normally do? It's like that.

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09-03-2009, 01:10 PM
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Jarick
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I've played all three extensively, here's my take on traits that make one a "natural":

Wingers:
- strong straight-line skaters
- strong on the boards and corners
- gets themselves open for a pass
- shoots the puck quickly with great accuracy

Defense:
- strong backwards skaters
- see the entire ice well
- can read or direct opposing players
- blocks or re-directs shots well

Centers:
- strong all-around skaters
- higher fitness level
- finds the open man for a pass
- supports his teammates in all three zones
- strong on draws

I play defense because my fitness level and straight-line skating suck. Even though my backwards skating isn't great, I'm good at breaking up plays and have an excellent outlet pass. I can also fire quick, low wrist shots pretty well. And my favorite part about playing defense is that I'm out on the ice a lot more every game and am more involved with the play.

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09-03-2009, 01:15 PM
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Our defensemen who don't have great vision of the ice tend to turn the puck over and pass it into really, really bad areas. They have trouble breaking the puck out of the zone, so they are more of a liability in our end. Conversely, our defensemen who have great vision of the ice tend to get the puck, take a look, and make a decision with it quickly in order to get the puck moving down to the other end. I think it's a pretty important trait.

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09-03-2009, 03:38 PM
  #14
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Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Our defensemen who don't have great vision of the ice tend to turn the puck over and pass it into really, really bad areas. They have trouble breaking the puck out of the zone, so they are more of a liability in our end. Conversely, our defensemen who have great vision of the ice tend to get the puck, take a look, and make a decision with it quickly in order to get the puck moving down to the other end. I think it's a pretty important trait.
Theres a difference between vision and taking a look.

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09-03-2009, 05:18 PM
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Theres a difference between vision and taking a look.

I always classified vision as knowing were the play will end up, who is where/who is going to be where. Basically anticipating whats going to happen instead of what is happening.

Very very few rec'ers have anything resembling "vision".

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09-03-2009, 10:05 PM
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I feel someone will playtheir natural position automatically.

You find out rather quickly what position you are a natural at by playing hockey. Guys know if they are a defensman or not because they simply think that way.

I knew I was a power winger type almost right away in my teens.

Also a good winger has vision as do any other position player who is good at playing. They kind of go hand in hand ... the better players all have good vision pretty much.

I'm a checking forward type good at stealing pucks and reading plays and certainly do not have that great playmaking vision. i have half decent vision which doesn't get you far ... well maybe onto a 3rd or 4th line.

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09-03-2009, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Our defensemen who don't have great vision of the ice tend to turn the puck over and pass it into really, really bad areas. They have trouble breaking the puck out of the zone, so they are more of a liability in our end. Conversely, our defensemen who have great vision of the ice tend to get the puck, take a look, and make a decision with it quickly in order to get the puck moving down to the other end. I think it's a pretty important trait.
As a defenceman, I find that often (not always) the puck gets passed into bad areas because the forwards are in bad areas.

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09-03-2009, 10:07 PM
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As a defenceman, I find that often (not always) the puck gets passed into bad areas because the forwards are in bad areas.
I agree with that ... very much so. Much in the same way a goalie gets blamed for a goal being given up when three players before the puck ever got to him made the mistake that caused the shot on goal.

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09-03-2009, 10:12 PM
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I agree with that ... very much so. Much in the same way a goalie gets blamed for a goal being given up when three players before the puck ever got to him made the mistake that caused the shot on goal.
That is another trait of a good defenceman, knowing where to stand when a shot is being made. You can either be your goalies best friend or the other teams good screen.

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09-03-2009, 10:16 PM
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That is another trait of a good defenceman, knowing where to stand when a shot is being made. You can either be your goalies best friend or the other teams good screen.
I rarely if ever played defense (we Americans use an S instead of a C in the word .... sorry hehe) but most of this summer played with some pickup guys who had room only for a defenseman so that was what i played. I must say it was very hard to do when you are used to the forward mentality of forechecking .... this led to pinching on the offense and being caught deep all the time.

Anyway knowing where to be when someone shoots and not screening was learned rather quickly when the goalie got mad at me for screening him as a defenseman

Touchy fellows themz goalies.

Overall I enjoyed the experience as a "something new" kind of thing and look forward to playing that same position this winter for them again. I am definitely feeling less lost at that position now.

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09-03-2009, 10:23 PM
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As a defenceman, I find that often (not always) the puck gets passed into bad areas because the forwards are in bad areas.
Yes, and then you have the centre who has the skating talent to carry the puck with enough ease he/she won't feel compelled to pass a puck to a 'bad area'

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09-04-2009, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Hockeyfan68 View Post
I rarely if ever played defense (we Americans use an S instead of a C in the word .... sorry hehe) but most of this summer played with some pickup guys who had room only for a defenseman so that was what i played. I must say it was very hard to do when you are used to the forward mentality of forechecking .... this led to pinching on the offense and being caught deep all the time.

Anyway knowing where to be when someone shoots and not screening was learned rather quickly when the goalie got mad at me for screening him as a defenseman

Touchy fellows themz goalies.

Overall I enjoyed the experience as a "something new" kind of thing and look forward to playing that same position this winter for them again. I am definitely feeling less lost at that position now.
You just reminded me of a guy I used to play with on my league team. He ALWAYS insisted on playing defense but he'd play an entire shift as though he were playing right wing -- he'd jump into the play and would seldom (if ever) be able to get back to defend when the other team got control of the puck. Worst case of denial (or just a guy playing the wrong position) I'd ever seen, and if he'd have asked to play wing he would have been one of our top scorers. As it was it seemed like he wanted to force us to play with 4 forwards and one defenseman. But I digress. . .

Yes, that's one of the big adjustments in switching from forward to defense -- instead of attacking and trying to strip the puck you need to try to contain the puck carrier before trying to take it away. As an elder team mate used to say, "if you go after it you'd better make sure you get it because now you've taken yourself out of the play." Oh, and do whatever your goalie says. They can be very touchy.

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09-05-2009, 07:26 PM
  #23
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You just reminded me of a guy I used to play with on my league team. He ALWAYS insisted on playing defense but he'd play an entire shift as though he were playing right wing -- he'd jump into the play and would seldom (if ever) be able to get back to defend when the other team got control of the puck. Worst case of denial (or just a guy playing the wrong position) I'd ever seen, and if he'd have asked to play wing he would have been one of our top scorers. As it was it seemed like he wanted to force us to play with 4 forwards and one defenseman. But I digress. . .

Yes, that's one of the big adjustments in switching from forward to defense -- instead of attacking and trying to strip the puck you need to try to contain the puck carrier before trying to take it away. As an elder team mate used to say, "if you go after it you'd better make sure you get it because now you've taken yourself out of the play." Oh, and do whatever your goalie says. They can be very touchy.
So you played with Mike Green before?

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09-05-2009, 07:44 PM
  #24
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Centers also need to be the smartest on the ice covering other wings if their out of position

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09-08-2009, 12:31 AM
  #25
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Centers also need to be the smartest on the ice covering other wings if their out of position
Too bad it doesnt actually work out like that

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