Iginla at LW?

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Iginla at LW?

Postby OKpensfan247 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:11 am

I never played competitive hockey, so I have a hard time understanding the importance of guys playing in their natural Left or Right positions-sides at the wings and defense.

Just based on predominant hand strength and dominant eye like in baseball it makes sense... but some of these guys like Duper and Jussi, seem to be able to switch to either side no problem like it should not be a big issue.

The situation with Neal and Iginla trying to be placed on the same line with Geno is so confusing to me.

For those of you guys that actually played, do you think Bylsma has had confidential discussions with Iginla and Iginla has told him he wants to, or can, play LW? He has just not looked good at all in his games as a Penguin trying to play LW. Or is this a sympton of Bylsma trying to stick with Kuni-Sid-Duper?
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby mikey287 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:39 am

OKpensfan247 wrote:I never played competitive hockey, so I have a hard time understanding the importance of guys playing in their natural Left or Right positions-sides at the wings and defense.

Just based on predominant hand strength and dominant eye like in baseball it makes sense... but some of these guys like Duper and Jussi, seem to be able to switch to either side no problem like it should not be a big issue.

The situation with Neal and Iginla trying to be placed on the same line with Geno is so confusing to me.

For those of you guys that actually played, do you think Bylsma has had confidential discussions with Iginla and Iginla has told him he wants to, or can, play LW? He has just not looked good at all in his games as a Penguin trying to play LW. Or is this a sympton of Bylsma trying to stick with Kuni-Sid-Duper?


Well, let's keep this basic.

Re: Handedness. Think about simple parts of the game. Iginla is a power forward, he thrives along the boards. So he's right handed, going up the right side of the ice...so where's his blade? Along the boards. So that's where his strength is. Puck comes around boards, puck is in the corner, you want your guy to be battling for that puck on his forehand. It's hard to win puck battles on your backhand.

In terms of pass reception. Left handed center (do we have any good LHS centers...?) passing on his forehand to the right-handed right wing, how and where is he catching that pass? In "protected space" near the boards, that should be away from a defender's stick and he can catch it on his forehand. Catching a pass is half the battle, it took Pascal Dupuis three years of being here before he could catch passes well enough to succeed, and now look at him...

Possession. If you're shooting from your off-wing, then you're always in the middle of the rink, that's where the most calamity is. You have to be exceedingly creative and skilled to be able to consistently make an impact on your off-wing (see: 1970's Soviet teams, predominant LHS but successful due to attack strategy...counter-action: 1970's Czechoslovakian left wing lock system). It's tough to protect that puck in the middle of the rink, you're very exposed there. And Iginla is more of a driving force along the boards (as he is accustomed for the last 15 years) than he is a mid-ice sniper. So the adjustment is huge for him...

More to consider, especially tactically, but that should answer your question at least somewhat...
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby Fire0nice228 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:40 am

I'd say your pretty acurate with your baseball batter analogy. The whole way the game looks and feels is different when your on one side of the ice vs the other. For example, goalie catch hand vs blocker hand on the short side would depend what side of the ice your on. If you want to go for the classic low blocker shot that is really hard for a goalie to stop, the side of the ice you are on will factor into that of course.

As a left handed player, I always liked to play center or RW so that if I came down the right side of the ice i had my stick to the center of the ice. Easier for me to make and recieve passes (especially passes that are 'behind' ), better shooting angle, if I came down the right side boards and cut to the middle I'm on my forehand for the shot as well. I'd say those guys that can play both sides equally well are rare just as a switch hitter is, and even then most have a better side than the other when batting or playing hockey.

Id say with certainty Iggy and DB have talked about it, and Iggy ,being the pro that he is, told DB he will do whatever DB wants him to do in order to give the team the best chance to win. HCDB has to figure out on his own that Iggy on LW doesn't give the team that best chance IMO.
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby OKpensfan247 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:40 am

And to clarify my question a bit...

Is it truly rare for guys to be able to switch sides because of the difficulty of using your stick with your weaker side (hand, arm)? If so, then why does Bylsma and other coaches try to force it?

Or is it rare for guys to be able to switch sides because of the Pens system in particular? Is it tougher to play LW versus RW in the Pens system for example?
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby OKpensfan247 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:47 am

Mikey, FireOnIce... good stuff, thanks
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby mikey287 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:53 am

OKpensfan247 wrote:And to clarify my question a bit...

Is it truly rare for guys to be able to switch sides because of the difficulty of using your stick with your weaker side (hand, arm)? If so, then why does Bylsma and other coaches try to force it?

Or is it rare for guys to be able to switch sides because of the Pens system in particular? Is it tougher to play LW versus RW in the Pens system for example?


You generally don't ask players, especially of Iginla's limited experience on the other side, to switch sides too terribly often...but it's not at all unheard of either. It's a bigger adjustment for some over others...some players don't understand it, they don't understand how to handle the puck support aspects of it on their backhand (Tyler Kennedy, I don't think Matt Cooke looks any good at it either, for instance...they both seem to "lock up" when the puck comes to them on their wrong side).

I personally don't notice any major difference between either wing's responsibility in our system offensively or defensively...but maybe some do. The big difference would be on the cycle, and it's those board battles that I talked about earlier.

Now look at a more free-flowing line like Kunitz-Malkin-Neal last year. They really didn't do a ton of board work, they were a creative, "whip it around" type of line. Organic creation of offense, as opposed to manufactured offense. In that case, Neal being on his off-wing is an advantage because it's a better shooting angle. He can grip it and rip it on the fly. He can get to the front of the net and have the whole net to shoot at. You have LHS Kunitz on the left side, which is important also. The style of Kunitz lends itself to board work, forechecking. You want a LHS on the LW boards in case of a turbulent zone entry. Here comes Kris Letang up the ice, but he runs out of real estate...hard around, goes behind the net, where's that puck coming? To Kunitz on his forehand to gain attack time. Then you can distribute it to Malkin and let him do his thing...
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby America on Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:05 pm

I shoot left and thrive on the right side. It's just all about your style of play.
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby OKpensfan247 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:08 pm

I love the discussion of X's and O's, structure, strategy, etc... so this is great stuff.

So Mikey, you refer to Neal's off-wing in your above post because he is truly a LHS? Is that correct? I kind of remember the write-up on Bylsma trying Neal-Geno-Kunitz initially last year before they looked at tape of Neal in Dallas and saw him having success on RW, so they switched the sides...

Also, in your opinion, do we have any other wingers on the team other than Kunitz that can slide into that LW position for the Geno line and create as much success as Malkin's line had last year? Or do you think it has to be Kunitz, given Malkin's creative and more offensive style and less checking style (although he is great at takeaways on defense), and also given Neal's lack of development so far on being able to play LW (your example of Dupuis' development earlier) on the Geno line?
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby Nizzy on Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:22 pm

YEAH BUT UH DA DA ER WHEN YOUR GETTING TO YOUR GAME AND GRINDING IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT SIDE YOU'RE ON.

Image
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby columbia on Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:22 pm

Thanks?
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby mikey287 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:27 pm

OKpensfan247 wrote:I love the discussion of X's and O's, structure, strategy, etc... so this is great stuff.

So Mikey, you refer to Neal's off-wing in your above post because he is truly a LHS? Is that correct? I kind of remember the write-up on Bylsma trying Neal-Geno-Kunitz initially last year before they looked at tape of Neal in Dallas and saw him having success on RW, so they switched the sides...

Also, in your opinion, do we have any other wingers on the team other than Kunitz that can slide into that LW position for the Geno line and create as much success as Malkin's line had last year? Or do you think it has to be Kunitz, given Malkin's creative and more offensive style and less checking style (although he is great at takeaways on defense), and also given Neal's lack of development so far on being able to play LW (your example of Dupuis' development earlier) on the Geno line?


Right. Neal, a LHS, on the right wing would be on his "off wing" his "weak side" even his "wrong side". That's considered "wrong" colloquially in North American hockey. That said, it seems the further down you go, the more RHS there are and the less and less likely it matters what side you play on because the competition is so limited. Improper defense techniques leaves sizable gaps and spacing issues for even moderately-skilled players to thrive on their wrong side. But that's an entirely different issue...

I think Kunitz is the best fit for the Malkin-Neal combo. It just makes sense. Also, in terms of playmaking, of all of our grinders or grinder types (Dupuis, Kunitz, Cooke, Morrow, Kennedy (RHS)) Kunitz has the best passing skills and vision at "slightly above average" or even a slight notch higher at his best. Could others fit there? Yes. Could they do it as well? I'm not positive, I don't think so.

Morrow could probably do it just fine, but I'd want to ensure that the d-men out there are the correct handedness, especially on the left side of the ice...because Morrow wants to go to the corner, and then he wants to go directly to the front of the net and camp. If you don't want Malkin and Neal to get involved in a cycling game back behind the net, you want Morrow to be able to set up an exchange with a LHS d-man on the left side...which probably means Orpik because Letang and Niskanen are RHS, Martin likes to play his off-side and the other players are useless with the puck or scratched (Despres was who I had in mind for the latter).

Once they get their lines in order (well, before that even), they'll have a protocol on retrievals and entries and all that stuff that's over my head and knowledge as I don't work for the team...unfortunately, with injuries and the hyper schedule, it's tough to find practice time for everything like this...
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby largegarlic on Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:29 pm

I get the thinking behind putting Iginla on the left and Neal on the right centered by Malkin. You have guys with big shots on their off wings, allowing Malkin to dish the puck to either side to set them up for one-timers, which is especially important, since Malkin seems to be refusing to shoot himself.

However, Iginla looks so uncomfortable receiving passes in the neutral zone or trying to chip the puck out of the defensive zone when he's on the left.
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby Lt. Dish on Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:32 pm

Thanks, all. I always enjoy learning more about my favorite sport.
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby Beveridge on Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:34 pm

If Bylsma really wants iggy malkin neal, then why isn't he playing them tonight together ( I mean I know he could and practice lines yesterday mean nothing).

I guess when he said there is a plan with Crosby and without Crosby, Kunitz-Malkin-Neal is the plan without. I guess we should hope that line is so dominant tonight it stays no matter what.
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby Nizzy on Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:36 pm

Mikey, Real Talk.

Do you like

Dupuis Crosby Iginla
Kunitz Malkin Neal

?
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby OKpensfan247 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:00 pm

Thanks guys, lots of good posts.

The old adage of something like "Good Generals discuss strategy, great Generals discuss logistics", has always made sense to me, and I think that saying applies to anything in life including sports and hockey... and the decision to play some of our guys in the lineup in unnatural positions when we have others that could play them naturally (or more naturally), has confused the heck out of me lately.

I know you have to accept that the coaches see these guys every day and they are the coaches for a reason... they are juggling/managing personalities, chemistry, leadership, etc in and out of the locker room, which is not easy, and these coaches deserve respect... but I don't see why you don't try a Dupuis-Sid-Iginla and Kunitz-Geno-Neal top two lines. Again, logistically that makes so much sense to me, but I realize there are lots of people that understand hockey better than me...

Who knows... I saw Bylsma's quote today that he thinks Iginla will be better prepared to try LW on the Geno-Neal line now than he was when he first joined the team... so maybe he's right and that line starts killing it. Hope so.
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby juicebox1 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:01 pm

Great thread - thanks guys.

A couple of questions regarding handedness...
Right. Neal, a LHS, on the right wing would be on his "off wing" his "weak side" even his "wrong side". That's considered "wrong" colloquially in North American hockey. That said, it seems the further down you go, the more RHS there are and the less and less likely it matters what side you play on because the competition is so limited. Improper defense techniques leaves sizable gaps and spacing issues for even moderately-skilled players to thrive on their wrong side. But that's an entirely different issue...


1) Do you say that playing the off wing is considered wrong because of the defensive responsibilities that the NA systems implement, whereas Kovalchuk and Ovechkin excel on their off-wings?

2) You mentioned that the further down you go, there are more RHS -- the further down where?

3) I've always been curious as to how different regions "breed" their players. When I grew up playing street hockey, I went back and forth with my plastic Mylec curve because I never felt comfortable playing "Right-Handed." 6 of 8 kids in my neighborhood all ended up playing Lefty - while only one actually wrote with their left hand. I have always attributed this comfort level to having my dominant hand at the top of the stick for maximum control. Maybe it's a generalization, but in terms of top end talent, the % of RHS appears to be higher in the US than in Canada. Does that have anything to do with how they train their kids from day 1 or is there an "advantage" that LHS have in their game?
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby Pens4Life on Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:14 pm

Nizzy wrote:Mikey, Real Talk.

Do you like

Dupuis Crosby Iginla
Kunitz Malkin Neal

?

Thats the logical top Pens lines for everyone on planet Earth,just not for stubborn Bylsma..
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby Mr. Colby on Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:15 pm

OKpensfan247 wrote:Mikey, FireOnIce... good stuff, thanks


When they're done with you, you'll have to change your name to GOODpensfan247
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby Bioshock on Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:18 pm

There is absolutely nothing i like about Iggy on the LW.
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby OKpensfan247 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:19 pm

Haha... you're right Mr. Colby...

Yeah, the OK was supposed to be for "Oklahoma" pens fan 24-7... but it does look confusing all together.
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby pcm on Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:56 pm

This team has 2 all-star RW's who can laser the puck. (Neal, Iginla)

It's got 2 bang and crash LW's who can create space, have enough offensive awareness to distribute the puck, and can bang home some goals themselves. (Kunitz, Morrow)

And its got 2 all-world centers. (Crosby, Malkin)

This is the perfect mix for the "ideal line", and we have enough components for 2 of them. If Dupuis' feelings get hurt because he's replaced by Jarome Iginla... Well, no let's put Jarome in a position he's not familiar with. I think Blysma will eventually figure it out, I'm just worried it'll take losing a game or two before he does.
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby pcm on Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:58 pm

Also, just want to point out that I like Bennett's game from the RW a lot more than LW.
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby OKpensfan247 on Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:13 pm

Hey pcm... I hear ya... I'm a huge fan of Morrow. Guy is a bad@$$ and a warrior, and I've been so happy watching him play well the last couple weeks. That game against Montreal was just awesome. I hope he just continues to rock for us in the playoffs. I've also seen threads where LGPs members have said they thought Morrow has been our best forward the last 1-2 weeks... tough for me to argue against... but I also saw where Bylsma was very outspoken about Dupuis being the team's best overall player (LW, C, RW... with all the roles he's been asked to do and do well) for several weeks...

I almost feel like since Dupuis has really "upped" his game for the Pens to such a higher level for really 2 seasons now... he almost deserves to keep that top 6 spot over Morrow...? Of course, I'm saying that with my hope/assumption he could slide into a LW position for Dupuis-Sid-Iginla... My humble opinion.
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Re: Iginla at LW?

Postby Bioshock on Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:41 pm

pcm wrote:Also, just want to point out that I like Bennett's game from the RW a lot more than LW.


Yeah, because that's his natural position. Bylsma switched him when he got here.
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