Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Left-Handed Complement

Lefty-2-Lefty that will be the recipe that makes or breaks the Rangers this season. Left-handed shooting center Brad RICHards setting up left-handed shooting right-winger Marian Gaborik will be the key to the Rangers offense.

Brad RICHards himself says that having "lefty" Gaborik on his right-wing presents many advantages. Richards discussed this lefty edge in a Kevin Allen article in USA Today:

Brad Richards intrigued by Marian Gaborik pairing --
As the hockey world has contemplated what freshly signed New York Rangers playmaker Brad Richards can do for scorer Marian Gaborik, Richards spent his time thinking about what Gaborik can do for him.

"My best seasons have been with lefties playing on the right wing (such as) Martin St. Louis and (Loui) Eriksson and Gaborik is the same," Richards said. "That's a nice natural feel for me."

Richards believes putting a left-handed shooting right wing with a left-handed center is simply a higher percentage play. "It just gives you passing options," he said. "With a right-handed player, you can't put it behind him. With a lefty, you can put it to his forehand or backhand. It gives you an extra five to seven feet of space to pass the puck."...
[Now I know, the fact, that Gaborik and Richards both shoot from the left doesn't necessarily mean that they are both left-handed. Many right-handed hockey player find it more natural to shoot from the left. Anyway, just work with me on this one.]

So, can we now conclude that this Richards/Gaborik lefty combination is a lock?

Calling anything on this Rangers team a lock is an invitation for disappointment. How many games will Torts let the dynamic duo skate together if they are not scoring? Pick an over/under on that one: 8 games, 10 games, or a "neurotic line tweaking" Tortorella 2 games?

Not to mention, how many different left-wingers will get swapped in and out with Richards and Gaborik in order to find the right mix? What will be a good over/under on the number of times a game that Joe Micheletti uses the standard hockey cliche, "chemistry," to describe the progress of the Richards/Gaborik line combination?

New York loves lefties. Babe Ruth was a lefty. Don Mattingly is a lefty. John McEnroe is a lefty. Adam Graves shot from the left. Brian Leetch also shot from the left. Lefty Gomez was a ..., well you get the picture. So left-handed talent does well in the Big Apple. We're hoping that trend continues.

Not until researching this story did I learn that NY Yankees left-handed throwing ace CC Sabathia is a natural righty.

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