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"His natural side/wing"

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08-09-2006, 06:34 PM
  #1
Impossibles
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"His natural side/wing"

First off, I've never played organized hockey.

Now what I want to discuss is the presumption that a player will have trouble switching sides of the ice (right wing/left wing, right D/left D).

I feel the phrase 'his natural side' is used entirely too much. My argument is these are the best ~750 hockey players in the world. Do they really have so much trouble with something as trivial as switching sides of the ice? And what makes either side a player's "natural" side?

Of course if you play left wing your entire career and are asked to switch one day, there will be an adjustment period, but shouldn't any player be able play at the same level on either side given enough practice?

I will grant you that it is prefferencial to have a right handed shot on the right wing, but there are a lot of left-shooting players who have been good RWs. Same with defensemen.

So is that phrase used too much credence? Are players really that finicky that they would be less productive if they are asked to switch sides?

Discuss.

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08-09-2006, 06:39 PM
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Le Tricolore
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for one, if they play left or right handed.

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08-09-2006, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Impossibles View Post
First off, I've never played organized hockey.

Now what I want to discuss is the presumption that a player will have trouble switching sides of the ice (right wing/left wing, right D/left D).

I feel the phrase 'his natural side' is used entirely too much. My argument is these are the best ~750 hockey players in the world. Do they really have so much trouble with something as trivial as switching sides of the ice? And what makes either side a player's "natural" side?

Of course if you play left wing your entire career and are asked to switch one day, there will be an adjustment period, but shouldn't any player be able play at the same level on either side given enough practice?

I will grant you that it is prefferencial to have a right handed shot on the right wing, but there are a lot of left-shooting players who have been good RWs. Same with defensemen.

So is that phrase used too much credence? Are players really that finicky that they would be less productive if they are asked to switch sides?

Discuss.
Yes. Players end up with a position for a reason. IE they are more comfortable/effective there. Undoubtedly there was a lot of trying out in the early years but they tend to filter towards the position they are best at. Sure they can make a switch but odds are they won't be as good.

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08-09-2006, 06:43 PM
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Belgican
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norrisnick View Post
Yes. Players end up with a position for a reason. IE they are more comfortable/effective there. Undoubtedly there was a lot of trying out in the early years but they tend to filter towards the position they are best at. Sure they can make a switch but odds are they won't be as good.
Odds are they could be better, you never know when a wing goes to the off wing, what is sure is that their play is very different and they would need some time to get confortable there, but who knows, playing off wing could just be better for you, most of the time, you just never tried

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08-09-2006, 06:47 PM
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Yeah.. it shows you've never played

A lot of guys can play both wings. Hell, I can play both. I'm a left handed shot, and prefer the right side (my off-wing), but I can play the left as well.

However, there are several things I can only do on one side or the other.

Driving with the puck to the net is entirely different, as the puck is on my backhand on the right side, but I can also use my left hand to fend a guy off and hold onto the puck with my right arm on the right side. My stick is towards the middle of the ice, so I have a much larger angle to shoot from. I have to make several defensive plays on my backhand, which many players have a lot more trouble with. It's a lot harder to make a move towards the middle of the ice, but a lot easier to go wide.

It all depends on the style of game you play... a shooter is generally going to prefer playing on his off-wing, for example.

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08-09-2006, 06:52 PM
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VanIslander
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have you ever put on SKATES?

movement, turns, balance, positioning is different on each side

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08-09-2006, 06:57 PM
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Erik Cole is more effective on his off-wing. He's really good at using his speed and cutting in towards the net. He either draws a penalty or penalty shot because the defenseman can't keep up with him or he gets a good shot on net.

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08-09-2006, 07:00 PM
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Wingers also play defense you know. Depending on the system (left wing lock for example) you have different assignments on different sides of the ice.

Not to mention it really does affect how you go to the net, and in most facets of offense.

Seriously, would you be totally ok if you were moved from doing something you've been doing since a kid to doing it radically different?

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08-09-2006, 07:14 PM
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Missionhockey
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Players are not glued to one end of the ice. You can't tell me that a LW has never ventured on the right side of the ice and vice versa, so in that respect I agree with you. I feel that if you make it to the NHL, you should be able to play both wings. Offense might be a bit of an adjustment, but not enough for someone to be totally helpless at the position.

Defensemen I take a different stance on. I've never played defense, but the way a defenseman approaches the play is totally different. Maybe one person is not as strong one-on-one on the left side as he is on the right side. There should be much more detail on defense.

Quote:
have you ever put on SKATES?

movement, turns, balance, positioning is different on each side
These guys are supposed to be the best players in the world. They are paid to play hockey because they are supposed to be good at it. If they have trouble skating at that stage maybe they should consider a career change.

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Old
08-09-2006, 07:43 PM
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znk
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I shoot from the left but I always pefered playing on the right wing. I had a much better angle when I took shots from the right side. I also found it was alot easier to protect the puck while moving arround a D from the right side. I also had less trouble getting out of the zone from the right wing.

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08-09-2006, 08:07 PM
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for a winger it can be tough. For me ( a right hand shot) i like to come down the right wing and toe drag and shoot, using the defender as a screen. It is more difficult to get a quick shot for me on the left.

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08-09-2006, 08:08 PM
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The New Originals
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It's probably the same difference as playing 1st and 3rd base. Same basic gameplan, but lots of different things you need to know that are specific to the position.

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08-09-2006, 08:08 PM
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i shot left handed, I prefer the left wing but I do like playing on the right wing too since I can shoot better with one-timers, its about how comfortable and effective I think I can be for my team, I do play RW or even Centre when I feel i have to for my team, peronally I always thought I was a better passer when i'm on the left and a better scorer when i'm on my right side.

Well I also get a lot of breakways over the course of the season and I feel better coming off the left side since I can control the pass way better when I cut up the middle of the ice or rushing up the ice.

I also played defense once in a while and playing on a different side than your blade can be hard when your not used to it, being on the same side you can cut off the puck on the boards way better than on your back-hand or body/legs, thats how i feel anyway.

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08-09-2006, 08:10 PM
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I never had too much of a preference. It was pretty much the same to me. I was a right handed shot and I preferred the left wing if I had to choose. I thought it was easier on the breakout and I felt I had more options with the puck carrying it into the offensive zone and a better angle to shoot the puck from.

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Old
08-09-2006, 09:16 PM
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Heat McManus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissionHockey View Post
Players are not glued to one end of the ice. You can't tell me that a LW has never ventured on the right side of the ice and vice versa, so in that respect I agree with you. I feel that if you make it to the NHL, you should be able to play both wings. Offense might be a bit of an adjustment, but not enough for someone to be totally helpless at the position.

Defensemen I take a different stance on. I've never played defense, but the way a defenseman approaches the play is totally different. Maybe one person is not as strong one-on-one on the left side as he is on the right side. There should be much more detail on defense.



These guys are supposed to be the best players in the world. They are paid to play hockey because they are supposed to be good at it. If they have trouble skating at that stage maybe they should consider a career change.


They are also playing against the best in the world. Every little bit helps, even if that little bit is the fraction of a second you can get your shot off quicker by playing your off wing.


Having played, I'd say that yes, you do get comfortable on your wing. I am a righty shot and always felt more comfortable playing the left side. I could get my shot off quicker and coming across the ice opened my lanes up more.

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08-09-2006, 09:55 PM
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Missionhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vakar Lajos View Post
[/B]

They are also playing against the best in the world. Every little bit helps, even if that little bit is the fraction of a second you can get your shot off quicker by playing your off wing.


Having played, I'd say that yes, you do get comfortable on your wing. I am a righty shot and always felt more comfortable playing the left side. I could get my shot off quicker and coming across the ice opened my lanes up more.
Shouldn't a player be able to get off a shot quickly where ever he is on the ice? A particular player's release does not depend upon where they are at that particular moment.

There are advantages and disadvantages to playing both sides. For instance a right handed shot is going to have a tougher time passing on the LW because of the angle of his stick on the forehand, but has a much better angle on the shot. Being on the RW as a right handed shot gives you less of a angle for a wrist shot, but is better for taking a slap shot or threading a pass.

What I'm trying to get at is that the positions have different advantages and disadvantages, but for a good player it should cancel each other out. I mean its not like the difference between playing center and goalie.

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08-09-2006, 10:03 PM
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Yea, it has credence. Some players grow up in minor hockey playing one wing for years. Then become used to those turns along the boards, or taking the pass on that side. Taking the pass is esp true for breaking the puck out of the zone.

Some players just aren't comfortable playing the other wing. However, most NHL players can play both, just they might feel more comfortable on their favoured wing.

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08-09-2006, 10:12 PM
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Missionhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redwingsdude View Post
Wingers also play defense you know. Depending on the system (left wing lock for example) you have different assignments on different sides of the ice.

Not to mention it really does affect how you go to the net, and in most facets of offense.

Seriously, would you be totally ok if you were moved from doing something you've been doing since a kid to doing it radically different?
I missed this, and I also think its a very good point.

However, when it comes to the defensive aspect of hockey (and its various assignments) it all has to be learned eventually. It doesn't take natural talent to know where your supposed to be on the ice or be respondsible. I'm not quite sure who said this, but the saying goes "defense can be learned, talent can not be taught" or something of that nature. Basically, if a player is unwilling to learn defense on one side of the rink, what changes when he goes to the other?

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08-09-2006, 10:24 PM
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For someone that has played left wing forever, it would be much much different to switch to right. Everything changes. Passing, shooting, one timers, etc.. Many NHL'rs play on their off wing for a better shooting angle. Some find streaking down the left wing as a right shot and vice versa much better for shooting. So if someone has played his whole life as a left wing, even if he is in the NHL, it would be a huge adjustment to switch positions.

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08-09-2006, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissionHockey View Post
I missed this, and I also think its a very good point.

However, when it comes to the defensive aspect of hockey (and its various assignments) it all has to be learned eventually. It doesn't take natural talent to know where your supposed to be on the ice or be respondsible. I'm not quite sure who said this, but the saying goes "defense can be learned, talent can not be taught" or something of that nature. Basically, if a player is unwilling to learn defense on one side of the rink, what changes when he goes to the other?
It's not a question of willingness. It's a question of getting the maximum out of a player. If he has difficulty on one side even if he tries, you'll find a way to get him back to his good side. The biggest thing for me when playing left or right in the defensive zone was how different it was when I was getting a pass along the boards. On offense if you enter on your off side you can slow down and bring the puck back and create new passing lanes etc... it's 2 different styles of play playing on your natural and off wing. And I played LW,RW,C and D(that's where I started for the firest few years I played) durring my hockey career. One year I even played 3-4 games as a foward then 3-4 games as a D durring the whole season. But then I stoped palying D for a few years and when I tried playing D again I was pretty bad at taking care of my player in front of the net. It's all the small details that make playing at a position you arent used to play difficult.

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08-09-2006, 11:27 PM
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Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Im a right hand shot, but I prefer to play Left wing, due to me using the onetime shot and better shooting angels, and I find it easier to control the puck on the left side since I can slow down as I enter the blueline, and wait for pass or shoot or drive to the net. I can cut in on the Dman, or go back out depending on the situation, going outside means controling the puck on the backhand and driving to the net, while cutting inside gives you a better angel in the slot to score. Playing rightwing, Im more of a playmaker but I don't feel comfy playing right, I feel I can't protect the puck as well i could on the leftside, but the toe drag is one of the advantages from the rightside, the passing is easier as your on your forehand.

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08-09-2006, 11:27 PM
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The argument that they are the best in the world and should be able to "adjust" is easier said than done. Playing against the best defenders in the world makes it that much more difficult to start doing something you're not as comfortable with.

The players could still play very well (better than most people) on their off wing, but when playing against the best in the world you have to do what you are accustomed to and how you perform the best.

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08-09-2006, 11:43 PM
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Missionhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by znk View Post
It's not a question of willingness. It's a question of getting the maximum out of a player. If he has difficulty on one side even if he tries, you'll find a way to get him back to his good side. The biggest thing for me when playing left or right in the defensive zone was how different it was when I was getting a pass along the boards. On offense if you enter on your off side you can slow down and bring the puck back and create new passing lanes etc... it's 2 different styles of play playing on your natural and off wing. And I played LW,RW,C and D(that's where I started for the firest few years I played) durring my hockey career. One year I even played 3-4 games as a foward then 3-4 games as a D durring the whole season. But then I stoped palying D for a few years and when I tried playing D again I was pretty bad at taking care of my player in front of the net. It's all the small details that make playing at a position you arent used to play difficult.
I'm going to go on a hunch, but I think a world class player won't have problems recieving the puck from either side. I really have a hard time buying that a player can't adjust quickly to which side of the boards they recieve the puck from.

I also think using ourselves is a bad example. Depending on your skill level it really is going to be either really hard, or really easy. The competition is not that high (unless your on a travel team and even then I have my doubts).

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08-09-2006, 11:47 PM
  #24
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I think it has to do with that crap about the left or right side brain dominant from where you are standing. I shoot a stick left, play golf right.

Also I was a right winger because it just feels more comfortable and easier for passes from the left. I also compare it to putting in golf where a right to left break puck is easier for most right handers than lefties.

But again these guys are pros and some can do it from either side of the ice.

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08-09-2006, 11:48 PM
  #25
Impossibles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redwingsdude View Post
Wingers also play defense you know. Depending on the system (left wing lock for example) you have different assignments on different sides of the ice.

Not to mention it really does affect how you go to the net, and in most facets of offense.

Seriously, would you be totally ok if you were moved from doing something you've been doing since a kid to doing it radically different?
Defensive systems change from coach to coach, its not like players can only play the left wing lock.

Switching wings isn't radically different...playing goal would be different, but you're still a forward playing hockey.

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