Winning NHL faceoffs more than just reflexes

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“Sometimes, some of the things you’ve been doing have not been working as well and you try to tweak some things and talk to your centermen as the series progresses.”

There’s also plenty of gamesmanship when it comes to the linesman dropping the puck. It’s up to the official to conduct a fair faceoff while the centers jockey for position and any little advantage they can find.

“They have a tough job, because there is a certain protocol that you’re supposed to follow to take a faceoff and both teams, you want to cheat as much as you can and you’re not afraid to get thrown out because a lot of guys can take draws,” Sharp said. “It’s like a three-way responsibility, both teams and the refs as well.”

While statistics show how well each team did on the draws and which players did well against other players, not all faceoffs are created equal.

The importance of winning the draw depends on the location and the situation in the game. Faceoffs on special teams are crucial, because a successful one allows a team to set up its power play or can help it kill off a man-advantage situation for its opponent.

In the NHL, it’s more about which faceoffs you win than how many.

“At the end of the day you try to win it whenever the ref tries to throw the puck down,” Sharp said. “You want that puck.”

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Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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