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Converting players positions or The "Higgins is a center" dilemna

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Old
08-01-2008, 12:32 PM
  #1
AD
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Converting players positions or The "Higgins is a center" dilemna

Most future NHL calibre players, when they're 12-13-14-15 tend to play at centre because its the natural position of the best players on the team. They're the people most in on the action.

As these players slowly move up through the ranks, they will often be shifted back to a position that better suits their style of play. Just because a player played center for 10 years before the age of 17 or 18, and played center against clearly mismatched opponents.. does not mean he's a center in the AHL or NHL.

Would Higgins be a better center? maybe.. but probably not.

Wasn't Markov a center in his junior days? Lets please end the debate.

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08-01-2008, 12:34 PM
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Tuggy
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I agree completely. Higgins is not a center and I wish people would stop suggesting the Habs use him there.

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08-01-2008, 12:36 PM
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If Higgins can be a center in the NHL, then I can play in that league as well.

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08-01-2008, 12:38 PM
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Maybe Markov could play center?

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08-01-2008, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldthorpe View Post
Maybe Markov could play center?
We could have Markov as our #1, Kovalev as our #2 and Higgins as our #3.

Now, if we could only bring back Garbovski and make him a winger... we'd be set!

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08-01-2008, 12:41 PM
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Iwishihadacup
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could carey be our center? he skates pretty well and handle puck really well, it would solve the goalie controversy and allow us to have four off lines








what? i am serious!












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08-01-2008, 12:43 PM
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Slick Nick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuggy View Post
I agree completely. Higgins is not a center and I wish people would stop suggesting the Habs use him there.
It wouldn't be my first choice, but if we don't get a center I could live with it. I suggested that Higgins should center Sergei K.. Higgins would take the faceoffs and take care of the defensive tasks while Kosty would act like the C in the offensive zone.

I think it could work..

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08-01-2008, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kriss E View Post
If Higgins can be a center in the NHL, then I can play in that league as well.
That's the problem with exaggeration...push it too far and then children stop believing in Santa Claus.

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08-01-2008, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slick Nick View Post
It wouldn't be my first choice, but if we don't get a center I could live with it. I suggested that Higgins should center Sergei K.. Higgins would take the faceoffs and take care of the defensive tasks while Kosty would act like the C in the offensive zone.

I think it could work..
That line looks even better if you place a guy in between them that has professional experience at center and can actually win a faceoff.. hmm.. now who migh that be.. I hear there's a kid by the name of Koivu that could play. How bout we try him.

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08-01-2008, 12:46 PM
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Slick Nick
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Originally Posted by AD View Post
That line looks even better if you place a guy in between them that has professional experience at center and can actually win a faceoff.. hmm.. now who migh that be.. I hear there's a kid by the name of Koivu that could play. How bout we try him.
I said I could live with it if we were not able to get a C... I could live with Chipchura too...

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08-01-2008, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Slick Nick View Post
I said I could live with it if we were not able to get a C... I could live with Chipchura too...
I want Bonk or Yelle

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08-01-2008, 12:56 PM
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Another factor to consider, and it matters more to some, less to others is $. Let's say you're Chris Higgins and you believe you can be a good checking line C, good, not Madden good but a start.

He would produce less as he doesn't have a playmakers vision but would still help by being strong on the puck in his own end. Come next summer's rfa status, kindly GM Bob tells him that based on your year we offer you 5 years at 13 M. Chris thinks, but,but, I could've played with Saku, went 30/30 and asked for 5 at 17.5.

It's a team game and we like to think players should think cup first, but it matters. I'm a Higgins fan because I believe he's a team first guy in many ways, but you can't blame a guy for being wary of being put in a position that diminshes his earning potential.

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08-01-2008, 01:00 PM
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In the 80's and early 90's, sure, I can see it. Wasn't Damphousse put at center every now and again?

Nowadays there's too much commitment to positioning and defensive responsibilities, probably makes it difficult for a winger to adjust to that when their instincts take them elsewhere.

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08-01-2008, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kriss E View Post
If Higgins can be a center in the NHL, then I can play in that league as well.
Then you must be a really good hockey player. How much has Higgins played center in the NHL? How much has anyone on here seen Higgins play center?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AD View Post
Would Higgins be a better center? maybe.. but probably not.

Wasn't Markov a center in his junior days? Lets please end the debate.
I don't know if Higgins would be better at center then wing, as I haven't seen enough of him there in the NHL. But in the NCAA he was one of the top centers in the NCA at age 18/19, so I don't think it's a silly question. He was poor on face-offs from what I recall but his speed helped him cover ground and he was such a smart player that he excelled in his own end as a center. His passing wasn't going to wow anyone and it's not like he has an oustanding pair of hands but he still was able to be named the top 10 players in the NCAA as a sophomore as a center.

Markov was a forward in the RSL but moved to defense, if you recall he was passed over in the '97 draft so he had an extra year to develop then the rest of the '98's.

Korneev also spent some time at forward and JT Wyman spent some time on defense at Dartmouth.

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08-01-2008, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by montreal View Post
He was poor on face-offs from what I recall but his speed helped him cover ground and he was such a smart player that he excelled in his own end as a center. His passing wasn't going to wow anyone and it's not like he has an oustanding pair of hands but he still was able to be named the top 10 players in the NCAA as a sophomore as a center.
Being able to dominate the NCAA playing as a power centre doesn't say much. Seems like he was just a good player who got slotted into C, he probably still would've made the league top 10 as a winger. There are centres who are just dominant players and can put up 30-50 goals on their own through their tremendous skill (Malkin, Lecavlier, Staal, Jokinnen) and then there are centres who's game is to setup their linemates from their position in the open ice (Savard, Thorton, Koivu).

I'm assuming Higgins was in the former role in the NCAA since by your own admission he doesn't seem to have the hands and vision for latter, especially at the NHL level (while his strengths of fast acceleration, good offensive instinct, tenacity on the puck and strong centre of gravity) make him suited for a battleing in corners role on attacking line (moreso than checking).

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08-01-2008, 01:33 PM
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Higgins can ONLY play LW he always sux on C

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08-01-2008, 01:42 PM
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I agree, Higgins is not a centre.
When he plays the wing he dominates the boards and his shot comming off the wall is lethal.

I really didnt like the Higgins at centre experience.

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08-01-2008, 01:50 PM
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Erika
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Higgins at center < Higgins at LW



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08-01-2008, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AD View Post
Most future NHL calibre players, when they're 12-13-14-15 tend to play at centre because its the natural position of the best players on the team. They're the people most in on the action.

As these players slowly move up through the ranks, they will often be shifted back to a position that better suits their style of play. Just because a player played center for 10 years before the age of 17 or 18, and played center against clearly mismatched opponents.. does not mean he's a center in the AHL or NHL.

Would Higgins be a better center? maybe.. but probably not.

Wasn't Markov a center in his junior days? Lets please end the debate.
This is not as big an issue as some are making it. Just because Higgins starts the year as a centerman, it doesn't mean if it's not working out 6-7 weeks into the season that they can't make a change. If you can add a Selanne for a reasonable contract, to me that makes a lot more sense than paying through the nose for a Marleau or similar player.

Higgins has been good as a winger, maybe once he gets comfortable at center he thrives under more responsibility in a Mike Richards/Rod Brindamour style 2 way game because he's more involved than on the wing.

Playing him center for a couple months won't ruin his career, you can always put him back on the wing in his familiar surroundings.

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Old
08-01-2008, 02:08 PM
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Blades 0f Steel
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Plekanec
Koivu
Lapierre
Begin/Chipchura

Just.Trust.Them.

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Old
08-01-2008, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Kriss E View Post
If Higgins can be a center in the NHL, then I can play in that league as well.

I'm not claiming that Higgins would be a great center but he did play at that position until about the age of 20 at Yale University. He was shifted to LW only after he arrived in Hamilton. As for you, I believe your first NHL shift would be your last, so I suggest you refrain from gross exaggeration and come up with a slightly more believable comparison. Do you realistically think you could match even Georges Laraque as an NHL center?

This and other posts that put down Higgins are not well thought out, although yours is undoubtedly the worst, Kriss. It's well to remember that Higgins was the first all-star center in the ECAC in his sophomore year at Yale. I saw Higgins play a few times in those years. His greatest drawback as a center is not his "vision" or his passing but rather his faceoffs. If he improved that skill, he could be an acceptable third line center.


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Old
08-01-2008, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AD View Post
Most future NHL calibre players, when they're 12-13-14-15 tend to play at centre because its the natural position of the best players on the team. They're the people most in on the action.

As these players slowly move up through the ranks, they will often be shifted back to a position that better suits their style of play. Just because a player played center for 10 years before the age of 17 or 18, and played center against clearly mismatched opponents.. does not mean he's a center in the AHL or NHL.

Would Higgins be a better center? maybe.. but probably not.

Wasn't Markov a center in his junior days? Lets please end the debate.
While this is probably true, can we also wait a little more than 1 game in a row before making a judgment on somebody?

Greg Stewart played 1 great game against a really bad Toronto team, he has to be in the starting lineup. Higgins didn't adjust well for 2 or 3 games, he can't play at the center position.

I know that the NHL is not necessarily a lab for testing, but isn't it possible to try Higgins at the center position during the whole pre-season? And then see for ourselves? Even if he plays against weaker opposition, which is what a preseason is all about, we would still be able to see his reactions, his instincts and if there's definately no improvement, pretty obvious he'll never be a center.

But it is a big adjustment to go from winger to center at the NHL level. Don't think Higgins had any chance whatsoever and maybe we could try him right from the start.

Again, I don't think it will work but we're a little fast on our judgments....if I can say that....you know what I mean anyway....

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Old
08-01-2008, 03:18 PM
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montreal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erika Kostitsyn View Post
Higgins at center < Higgins at LW
How many times have you seen Higgins play center?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turboflex View Post
Being able to dominate the NCAA playing as a power centre doesn't say much. Seems like he was just a good player who got slotted into C, he probably still would've made the league top 10 as a winger. There are centres who are just dominant players and can put up 30-50 goals on their own through their tremendous skill (Malkin, Lecavlier, Staal, Jokinnen) and then there are centres who's game is to setup their linemates from their position in the open ice (Savard, Thorton, Koivu).

I'm assuming Higgins was in the former role in the NCAA since by your own admission he doesn't seem to have the hands and vision for latter, especially at the NHL level (while his strengths of fast acceleration, good offensive instinct, tenacity on the puck and strong centre of gravity) make him suited for a battleing in corners role on attacking line (moreso than checking).

Being named among the top 10 players in the NCAA as a sophomore is a big deal imo, don't see why it wouldn't be. He doesn't have great skills and yet he was still considered as one of the best players in the NCAA at 19, which imo is impressive.

In his sophomore year he had 20+21 in 28 games, certainly not overly impressive, so their must have been something about his game aside from his offensive skills that NCAA officials liked.

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Old
08-01-2008, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montreal View Post
How many times have you seen Higgins play center?




Being named among the top 10 players in the NCAA as a sophomore is a big deal imo, don't see why it wouldn't be. He doesn't have great skills and yet he was still considered as one of the best players in the NCAA at 19, which imo is impressive.

In his sophomore year he had 20+21 in 28 games, certainly not overly impressive, so their must have been something about his game aside from his offensive skills that NCAA officials liked.
Right. But it seems that those skills translated into a good winger potential in the NHL. I like Higgins, but I doubt he can carry a line and centres often have to do that.

This is in no way a Higgins bashing thread, but simply using the argument that a guy played center in lower leagues can play centre in the NHL is false. I'd rather find a guy who's never played center but that has the tools to do it than vice versa.

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Old
08-01-2008, 03:28 PM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erika Kostitsyn View Post
Higgins at center < Higgins at LW


I agree that Higgins is probably better at LW than at C but I suggest you be a bit more patient. For example, how long did it take for A. Kostitsyn to score more than a pitiful handful of NHL goals?

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