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Tweetmail No. 56: Righties, Lefties & Odds

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Smith

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Hello and welcome to a weekly feature on CarolinaHurricanes.com in which I take your Twitter questions about the Carolina Hurricanes or other assorted topics and answer them in mailbag form. Hopefully, the final product is insightful to some degree, and maybe we have some fun along the way.

Let’s get to it.

How do so many right-handed hockey players end up as left-handed shooters? – Matt H. (@Matt1553)

The rule of thumb is that a player’s dominant hand belongs on the top of the stick, so a right-handed person would shoot left and vice versa. The thought behind this is that having the dominant hand on the top of the stick allows for more precise puck control and stick-handling.

A New York Times article from 2010 examines left shots versus right shots and finds that a majority of Canadian hockey players shoot left-handed, while a majority of American players shoot right-handed, according to sales figures from stick manufacturers. This is notable considering that most Canadians, like Americans, are naturally right-handed.

I apparently missed the memo on this: I’m a righty who shoots right-handed. According to this Boston Globe article from October, this is a common trend in the United States, where right-handed sticks comprise 60 to 65 percent of sales, the opposite of Canada and Europe.

USA Hockey is investigating the discrepancy, the Globe notes, to ensure the country isn’t losing top-end talent for the simple and fundamental reason of how players are gripping their sticks. According to the article, USA Hockey surveyed attendees of its development camps last summer. Of the 200 lefties, 113 had their dominant right hand on the top of the stick, and of the 96 righties, just 18 had their dominant left hand on top.

It’s an interesting quirk, whether it has cultural roots or otherwise. Shooting right-handed felt right to me when I first picked up a hockey stick, so that’s what I did, and that seems to be the common trend unless you were keen to the top-hand dominant rule.

As it stands now, what are the odds for the Canes to win the draft lottery, and what were the changes to the lottery? – Ben B. (@Sormy_Canes)

As of the morning of March 18, the Canes rank 26th in the league or fifth in draft lottery position. This yields an 8.5 percent chance of winning the lottery.

In the remaining 13 games of the season, I’m not sure the Hurricanes’ draft position will change dramatically. Buffalo (47 points), Edmonton (50 points) and Arizona (50 points) slot 1-2-3 in draft order currently, and they will probably land in some combination of that sequence after game No. 82. Toronto (60 points), Carolina (61) and Columbus (64) find themselves in the next trio and will likely finish, again, in some combination of that order at the end of the season. New Jersey slots seventh in draft order currently with 71 points, and it seems unlikely they fall/climb into the top six draft positions; with 8 points separating those two positions with 12-13 games remaining, it’s an unlikely gap to close.

So, taking all of that into account, the Canes will likely see a minimal change in their lottery odds in the remaining 13 games. The fourth position has a 9.5 percent chance of winning the lottery, and the sixth position has a 7.5 percent chance, spelling a one percent difference up or down in odds.

The changes to this year’s lottery were strictly in allocation of the odds. The league more evenly balanced the odds, reducing the top chance for winning the lottery from 25 percent to 20 percent. Draft positions 2-4 also saw percentage reductions, while positions 5-14 saw varying increases.

The draft lottery will again change in 2016 when it will be utilized to assign the top three draft picks; a first lottery will be held to determine the first-overall selection, a second lottery will determine second-overall and a third lottery will delineate the third pick.

Hot dog: sandwich or nah? – Tom E. (@MrWorkrate)

Nah, but it certainly toes the line in Montreal, where it becomes perhaps more debatable than anywhere. Sandwich or nah, I will be crushing them on Thursday night.

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Join me next week for more questions and more answers!

If you have a question you’d like answered or you’d like to discuss the merits of having Tommy Lasorda dance to #turndownforwhat on the Internet, you can find me on Twitter at @MSmithCanes (or drop an email here).



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