IMFC wrote:I've always seen Orpik and Martin on the left side. Does this matter that much to most defensemen? I would think they develop a comfort level on one side or the other, so does Orpik-Martin work?
Important for some d-men, very important to many coaches. Though North American hockey rarely differentiates from LD and RD ever since the position "defenseman" or "defenceman" was established, evolving from the former positions "point" and "cover point" and to a lesser extent, "rover" back in the old 7 on 7 game. You have to think about it tactically. Puck is in the corner, opposition wings it up the boards and your d-man pinches over at the blueline to hold it in. A right-handed defenseman on the left wing boards is at a natural disadvantage to a) keeping the puck in and being useful with it b) withstanding any board battle that would ensue because he's on his weak side.
If you have a puck-rushing defenseman, a guy who sets the pace and leads the breakout, it's not considered ideal, especially in North American hockey, to have that player carrying the puck through the middle of the ice...if he makes a mistake, you got problems. If he loses it up the boards, he can hack at it and maybe chip it ahead or at least not put the takeaway team in a prime position immediately.
Players have a comfort level as well, some players are just plain more comfortable on one side of the rink. Some players can pinch/step better on one foot as oppose to the other, stop better on one foot versus the other and when they have to make a play, they might feel more comfortable on one side of the ice.
In coaching, Scotty Bowman would strive to have a LH d-man and a RH d-man on the same pairing. The 2012 Los Angeles Kings arranged their pairings in such a way as well.