SUN Hockey Pool

What makes a hockey team work?

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:27 PM ET

Centres are always looking for ways to get an advantage in the faceoff circle.

In the defensive zone, a player's strongest move is on his backhand side (the left side for a player who shoots left).

Buffalo Sabres centre Paul Gaustad, a lefty, has tried to increase his odds in the right circle by switching his lower hand, giving him a strong move in both circles.

"It was something to increase my tool-set with draws," he said. "I use it when certain guys do certain things. Going to my backhand on my opposite side gives me an advantage there when I need to. It's something I continually work on and try to get comfortable with. It's not as comfortable as my backhand, but it's getting there."

Gaustad, who is ranked sixth in the league in faceoff percentage (57.9%), said he uses the technique at times against Toronto's David Steckel, who is first at 61.7%.

"I seemed to be losing some draws to certain guys in the league and wanted to figure out a way to stay ahead of them.

With a guy like Steckel, on his strong side, which is the left side of the dot, he's extremely strong on his backhand. For me to get underneath his stick, I have to switch my hand over."


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