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Can Higgins play center permanently?

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06-27-2008, 12:02 PM
  #1
Captain Saku
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Can Higgins play center permanently?

In case Gainey was not able to sign Sundin and succeeded to sign Hossa (or any other top 6 Winger) do you see Higgins taking permanently the 3rd line center spot?

Here would be the lines :

A.Kost - Plekanec - Kovalev
Tanguay - Koivu - UFA
Lats - Higgins - S.Kost
Begin - Chipchura/Lapierre - Kosto

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06-27-2008, 12:04 PM
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YMCMBeaulieu
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One of his biggest strengths is his play along the boards and ability to protect the puck, by playing on the wing he is able to use that strength more. He COULD play center but he is more effective on the wing so there is no point putting him center.

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06-27-2008, 12:05 PM
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Skyblaze
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He's much more useful playing wing. He *could* play center if we really needed one that badly but he's much more effective as a puck chaser and for his play along the boards.

I feel that playing Higgins at center would be like gimping the guy.

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06-27-2008, 12:06 PM
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The worst part about our potential 3rd line centre candidates (Higgins, Grabovski, S. Kostitsyn) is that they all suck at faceoffs. Not one of them had a faceoff % on the good side of 40.

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06-27-2008, 12:06 PM
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Mike8
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Yes, I much prefer Higgins at center. It utilizes his strengths, which are speed and fundamentals.

And, in fact, in response to RedScull: I find Higgins' ability to win battles in the corners is all the more apparent when he plays at center. He's very adept at picking his spots, using his solid stature to scoop up pucks down low defensively and win those battles, moving the puck quickly up-ice ... he has the ability, like Markov and Plekanec, to strip the opposition of the puck and get the transition-offense going quickly. The opposition won't keep the Habs hemmed in their own zone with as much ease when Higgins is at C.

On the wing, Higgins' transition game and defensive games are subpar.

Offensively, I like Higgins on the wing because--like others have mentioned--he's solid along the boards. But he's a little unfocused with the puck. He'll dipsy doodle, and that isn't his game. If he plays center, he plays a more focused, fundamental transition game and sets that tone for his linemates. His speed will also open up more room if he's playing down the middle.

I'd really like to see Higgins playing down the third-line center position over a good 15-20 game stretch.

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06-27-2008, 12:08 PM
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I don't wanna see that.... I just dont think Higgins is useful at Centre... its obvious he was out of position there when Koivu was hurt.

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06-27-2008, 12:17 PM
  #7
jcpenny
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When he was playing center he wasnt creating a lot of offense but he was a workhorse defensively.

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06-27-2008, 12:19 PM
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Doubt it honestly. He seemed to have a lot less hussle at center. he didn't strike me to be able to "take charge" of his line also, like most good centers are able to do. He's fine at the wing.

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06-27-2008, 01:24 PM
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I don't think he's bad at center because of his defensive play, but he's more usefull on wings, where he's more offensive. I would like to see Tanguay at center, if Sundin won't come to MTL.

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06-27-2008, 01:33 PM
  #10
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I don't think so. Anyways, if the management can't land Sundin and don't think Grabs is ready to take a spot, I really hope they will try to land Rolston.

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06-27-2008, 01:45 PM
  #11
Kriss E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
Yes, I much prefer Higgins at center. It utilizes his strengths, which are speed and fundamentals.

And, in fact, in response to RedScull: I find Higgins' ability to win battles in the corners is all the more apparent when he plays at center. He's very adept at picking his spots, using his solid stature to scoop up pucks down low defensively and win those battles, moving the puck quickly up-ice ... he has the ability, like Markov and Plekanec, to strip the opposition of the puck and get the transition-offense going quickly. The opposition won't keep the Habs hemmed in their own zone with as much ease when Higgins is at C.

On the wing, Higgins' transition game and defensive games are subpar.

Offensively, I like Higgins on the wing because--like others have mentioned--he's solid along the boards. But he's a little unfocused with the puck. He'll dipsy doodle, and that isn't his game. If he plays center, he plays a more focused, fundamental transition game and sets that tone for his linemates. His speed will also open up more room if he's playing down the middle.

I'd really like to see Higgins playing down the third-line center position over a good 15-20 game stretch.
Whats the first thing you teach a center?..WIN FACEOFFS.

Higgins can't win any. We need our 3rd line center to be solid on faceoffs.
Between Higgins and SK, I much prefer SK. The kid can do it all but he also needs to work big time on his faceoffs.

The best scenario though, is that neither play center.

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06-27-2008, 01:48 PM
  #12
Mike8
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Originally Posted by Kriss E View Post
Whats the first thing you teach a center?..WIN FACEOFFS.
Well, that's just it: it's a skill that's learned. So why should that prevent him from playing C if his natural abilities thrive in the position? Just have him work at it.

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06-27-2008, 01:51 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiascov View Post
In case Gainey was not able to sign Sundin and succeeded to sign Hossa (or any other top 6 Winger) do you see Higgins taking permanently the 3rd line center spot?

Here would be the lines :

A.Kost - Plekanec - Kovalev
Tanguay - Koivu - UFA
Lats - Higgins - S.Kost
Begin - Chipchura/Lapierre - Kosto
short answer : No.
long answer : No way.

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06-27-2008, 01:54 PM
  #14
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[B]Higgins did play center for a bit at the end of this season, and did pretty good i guess...but personally i would much rather see him playing wing and chipchura playing center..... i mean a third line being higgins,chipchura, s.Kostitsyn would be pretty scary for a third line.....and i think with higgins playing wing he would get more goals then at center.[/B


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Old
06-27-2008, 02:02 PM
  #15
Kriss E
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Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
Well, that's just it: it's a skill that's learned. So why should that prevent him from playing C if his natural abilities thrive in the position? Just have him work at it.
You start learning in Atom. I think he's too far ahead by just a few years..

I don't think his natural abilities thrive at center. I think he's a better winger and our third line center if we don't get Sundin will be Chipchura.

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06-27-2008, 02:14 PM
  #16
Monctonscout
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiascov View Post
In case Gainey was not able to sign Sundin and succeeded to sign Hossa (or any other top 6 Winger) do you see Higgins taking permanently the 3rd line center spot?

Here would be the lines :

A.Kost - Plekanec - Kovalev
Tanguay - Koivu - UFA
Lats - Higgins - S.Kost
Begin - Chipchura/Lapierre - Kosto
It's not the perfect situation, but that's a very good plan B. I wasn't thinking about that...I think if you give him Latendresse and S.Kost, that line can put up 60-70 goals pretty easily...plus it opens up a spot for a Hossa Jagr Straka Rolston Demitra maybe Naslund or Brunette...I'm not sold on Shanahan or Satan.

After Sundin there is not a lot at center.

To me if you can't get Sundin, Hossa or Jagr, I'd go for a 1 year deal on Straka Rolston(maybe 2-3 for him) Naslund Brunette Demitra and spend for 2-3 years on a Rozival, Stuart, Foote, Norstrom, Smith...ideally a guy that can play PP.

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06-27-2008, 02:19 PM
  #17
LyricalLyricist
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Hard to tell, the times he played center last year it was clear he wasn't used to it anymore. He hasn't played center in a long time, maybe if he readjusted he'd be fine, but unless there's a need to experiment, i wouldn't.

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Old
06-27-2008, 02:22 PM
  #18
mcphee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
Yes, I much prefer Higgins at center. It utilizes his strengths, which are speed and fundamentals.

And, in fact, in response to RedScull: I find Higgins' ability to win battles in the corners is all the more apparent when he plays at center. He's very adept at picking his spots, using his solid stature to scoop up pucks down low defensively and win those battles, moving the puck quickly up-ice ... he has the ability, like Markov and Plekanec, to strip the opposition of the puck and get the transition-offense going quickly. The opposition won't keep the Habs hemmed in their own zone with as much ease when Higgins is at C.

On the wing, Higgins' transition game and defensive games are subpar.

Offensively, I like Higgins on the wing because--like others have mentioned--he's solid along the boards. But he's a little unfocused with the puck. He'll dipsy doodle, and that isn't his game. If he plays center, he plays a more focused, fundamental transition game and sets that tone for his linemates. His speed will also open up more room if he's playing down the middle.

I'd really like to see Higgins playing down the third-line center position over a good 15-20 game stretch.

I thought that his games at C while Koivu was out neutralized his offense. If he was playing with a Lapierre, as an example on the right side and a solid 2 wat guy on the left, it might not matter much because puck distribution wouldn't matter as much. I just think you take away his outside speed at C. He has a knack for scoring from the circles when he creates open ice with speed and I'd hate to lose that.

If they load up on offense though, it's more of an option,imo.

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06-27-2008, 02:51 PM
  #19
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I think the Habs are MUCH better with...

2-Tanguay-Koivu-Hossa/Jagr
3-Latendresse-Higgins-S.Kost

than

2-Tanguay-Koivu-Higgins
3-latendresse-Chipchura-S.Kost

As much as I think Chipchura will be a good NHL 3rd liner, I'd prefer playing him 4th line for a year maybe 2 until giving him that role. I think playing 4th line with Lappy Begin and Kosto is a good role for him and he can step up to the 3rd in case of injuries...if he is better than Higgins on faceoffs, he can get a few extra shifts there late in games. Just because you have 4 set l;ines doesn't mean you can't play certain guys more in different game situations and special teams.

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06-27-2008, 05:16 PM
  #20
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Sign Brendan Morrison instead, he is almost a Higgins clone except he can actually play center. Only differences I see are that he is less of a shooter and more of a playmaker than Higgins, which suits the position, and he is adept at faceoffs. Otherwise they play a similar game.
Imagine a line with two Higgins-esque players? Hell, throw D'agostini in there and you have triplets to go along with the Belarusian Bros!

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Old
06-27-2008, 05:30 PM
  #21
Kriss E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carey Price View Post
I think the Habs are MUCH better with...

2-Tanguay-Koivu-Hossa/Jagr
3-Latendresse-Higgins-S.Kost

than

2-Tanguay-Koivu-Higgins
3-latendresse-Chipchura-S.Kost

As much as I think Chipchura will be a good NHL 3rd liner, I'd prefer playing him 4th line for a year maybe 2 until giving him that role. I think playing 4th line with Lappy Begin and Kosto is a good role for him and he can step up to the 3rd in case of injuries...if he is better than Higgins on faceoffs, he can get a few extra shifts there late in games. Just because you have 4 set l;ines doesn't mean you can't play certain guys more in different game situations and special teams.
I don't think Chipchura isn't ready to center the 3rd line. He actually did a good job last year I found. I was actually surprised they sent Chipper back to Hamilton, I just think they sent him down because we simply had too many players.

To be quite honest, I see Lats playing with Koivu and Tanguay. I think if he does improve his fitness over the summer and come into camp in great shape, he'll be the perfect linemate for them.

A Higgins-Chip-SKost line would make a terrific two way third line.
Chip had to improve his faceoffs and speed though, but im sure he'll be a regular roster player for us.

It might be a different story if we sign another center though.

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06-27-2008, 06:44 PM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carey Price View Post
I think the Habs are MUCH better with...

2-Tanguay-Koivu-Hossa/Jagr
3-Latendresse-Higgins-S.Kost

than

2-Tanguay-Koivu-Higgins
3-latendresse-Chipchura-S.Kost

As much as I think Chipchura will be a good NHL 3rd liner, I'd prefer playing him 4th line for a year maybe 2 until giving him that role. I think playing 4th line with Lappy Begin and Kosto is a good role for him and he can step up to the 3rd in case of injuries...if he is better than Higgins on faceoffs, he can get a few extra shifts there late in games. Just because you have 4 set l;ines doesn't mean you can't play certain guys more in different game situations and special teams.

Obviously, you added a free agent in the first scenario and not the second, obviously the habs are better.

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06-27-2008, 08:10 PM
  #23
Beakermania*
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carey Price View Post
I think the Habs are MUCH better with...

2-Tanguay-Koivu-Hossa/Jagr
3-Latendresse-Higgins-S.Kost

than

2-Tanguay-Koivu-Higgins
3-latendresse-Chipchura-S.Kost
Okay if signing Hossa/Jagr is the route you wanna go I say that the Habs are better with....

2-Tanguay-Koivu-Hossa/Jagr
3-Higgins-Grabovsky/Chipchura-S.Kost
4-Latendresse-Chipchura/Lapierre- Kostopolous/Lapierre

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06-27-2008, 10:16 PM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8 View Post
Yes, I much prefer Higgins at center. It utilizes his strengths, which are speed and fundamentals.

And, in fact, in response to RedScull: I find Higgins' ability to win battles in the corners is all the more apparent when he plays at center. He's very adept at picking his spots, using his solid stature to scoop up pucks down low defensively and win those battles, moving the puck quickly up-ice ... he has the ability, like Markov and Plekanec, to strip the opposition of the puck and get the transition-offense going quickly. The opposition won't keep the Habs hemmed in their own zone with as much ease when Higgins is at C.

On the wing, Higgins' transition game and defensive games are subpar.

Offensively, I like Higgins on the wing because--like others have mentioned--he's solid along the boards. But he's a little unfocused with the puck. He'll dipsy doodle, and that isn't his game. If he plays center, he plays a more focused, fundamental transition game and sets that tone for his linemates. His speed will also open up more room if he's playing down the middle.

I'd really like to see Higgins playing down the third-line center position over a good 15-20 game stretch.
I just don't see the same things. I find him limited at C. He's bad at face-offs. That's critical. Sure he can improve. But Plekanec, a career C, has been trying to improve. He's still below 50%. Chipchura, another career C, one who excelled in junior and took important faceoffs for Sutter at the WJ, wasn't good enough last year. If Higgins managed to get to 48%, that would be a very impressive feat, but it still wouldn't be anywhere near good enough.

He also doesn't pass very well in transition. He's not a good puck distributor in general. Puck distribution opens up space, not speed. Speed takes advantage of space. I also think that his speed means that he should be on the wing winning races to lose pucks instead of hanging high and waiting to either backcheck or support low. Generally I think he's a better player when he reacts instead of thinks, and he would have to think a lot at C.

I just don't see the obsession with Higgins at C - and I'm not referring to you specifically. The topic comes up as regularly as any on these boards. I've never seen anything in his game that makes me think that he would be a better or more effective C than he is a W. Seriously, we might as well talk about unconverting Markov from a C to a D.

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06-27-2008, 10:25 PM
  #25
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Originally Posted by davedave View Post
I just don't see the same things. I find him limited at C. He's bad at face-offs. That's critical. Sure he can improve. But Plekanec, a career C, has been trying to improve. He's still below 50%. Chipchura, another career C, one who excelled in junior and took important faceoffs for Sutter at the WJ, wasn't good enough last year. If Higgins managed to get to 48%, that would be a very impressive feat, but it still wouldn't be anywhere near good enough.

He also doesn't pass very well in transition. He's not a good puck distributor in general. Puck distribution opens up space, not speed. Speed takes advantage of space. I also think that his speed means that he should be on the wing winning races to lose pucks instead of hanging high and waiting to either backcheck or support low. Generally I think he's a better player when he reacts instead of thinks, and he would have to think a lot at C.

I just don't see the obsession with Higgins at C - and I'm not referring to you specifically. The topic comes up as regularly as any on these boards. I've never seen anything in his game that makes me think that he would be a better or more effective C than he is a W. Seriously, we might as well talk about unconverting Markov from a C to a D.
We do see different things. How do you find his defensive game at center?

See, the main issue for me is that Higgins, despite being a hard-worker, can go through a stretch of games where he's just not involved in the play. When he's playing the center position, that forces him to be involved, and I think that forces his fundamentals to come out and thrive. I really like Higgins' work defensively and ability to move the puck quickly coming out of the zone.

He's not the greatest puck distributor when you're looking for creativity or offensive production, but he's just fine at spotting the open man for a short crisp pass. That's what I like in Higgins' game.

As far as Higgins being forced to be the high man because he's the C... well, I don't think that's accurate. As it stands, he's more often the first backchecker as opposed to Koivu. Depends on his linemates.

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