Stats for US Hockey Olympians So Far

Just to analyze how each guy is doing, I’m gonna post the point totals and average ice time for each player.  Obviously, the point totals matter a little more for the forwards, and the ice time is bigger for the d-men.

Kesler: 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 2 Points AVG TOI: 18:27

Kane: 0-3-3, 17:18

Brown: 1-1-2, 11:45

Pavelski: 1-3-4, 15:23

Kessel: 4-3-7, 14:46

Van Riemsdyk: 0-4-4, 14:38

Backes: 2-0-2, 14:57

Callahan: 0-1-1, 14:50

Parise: 0-0-0, 17:11

Stastny: 2-0-2, 13:19

Oshie: 0-3-3, 11:37

Wheeler: 0-1-1, 5:36

Pacioretty: 0-1-1, 10:00

Stepan: 0-0-0, 4:59

Suter: 0-0-0, 23:27

McDonagh: 1-0-1, 20:38

Shattenkirk: 0-2-2, 17:01

Martin: 0-0-0, 17:28

Fowler: 1-0-1, 16:04

Orpik: 0-1-1, 14:51

Carlson: 1-1-2, 11:02

What to take away:

First, it has to be said that this is an unbelievable small sample size, and I’m not even giving the game by game totals or ice time.  That will be done in a post leading up to the gold medal game if the US gets there, because that’ll be after two medal round games, which should tell us more.  Also, at that point, we won’t be able to get enough analysis of the team.

Bylsma’s three top forwards in terms of ice time are the ones expected coming into the tournament: Kesler, Kane, and Parise.  This begs the question why they’re not on the same line, especially because Brown has enough defensive chops to fill in really well with Backes and Callahan.  I’d put Parise’s better scoring ability — and all around better game — on the ice with Kesler and Kane and try to re-create the chemistry they had in 2010.  Parise isn’t playing as well as he should, and neither is the 3rd line for the most part, so this switch seems logical.  Kesler isn’t performing that well in terms of points, but he’s been big in other ways, especially PK.  Kesler took a slap shot straight on his left hand in the Russia game and stayed in.  Of course, Pierre McGuire cited a brief interview that he conducted with the team doctor, who was obviously in awe of Kesler’s toughness.  As if there would be any other kind of report from Pierre McGuire.  Kane is playing well, but not well enough to meet his standards.  His presence on the PK will be huge, as his zone entries are so impressive and so key for the US.  The second line is playing their asses off, especially scoring wise.  Just look at those numbers, and you’ll see that no more analysis is really necessary.  Bylsma is smartly playing them all between 14.5 and 15.5 minutes, which is the same for Backes and Callahan.  That’s fine by me, so long as he continues to see the second line as a primary scoring line and the third as a defensive line.  As I said, the third line isn’t doing that great, but they’re still doing well enough for Team USA to be a top dog.  The 4th line is a question mark, partly because we don’t know who will play on it.  I loved that Stepan was in for the Slovenia game since I’m a big fan, as he was rotating in sometimes the way that Wheeler did in the first two games.  Wheeler finally played really well in the Slovenia game, but he was a nightmare in both the Slovakia and Russia games.  I’d rather put Pacioretty, who sat the Slovenia game out, back at his natural LW and try to get back what the 4th line had in the Slovakia game, and then I’d make Stepan the 13th man.  Give me the more versatile center over the more one-dimensional wing in Wheeler.

The defensive minutes look like they should, in my opinion, for the most part.  Suter should be playing as many minutes as possible, like his ridiculous 29:56 in the Russia game.  McDonagh is up next, followed by Shattenkirk and Martin.  That should be the top 4, although Orpik playing more than Martin in the Russia game is inexplicable.  Fowler is fifth in ice time, which I like, and then Orpik and Carlson come in last.  But Orpik clearly has a lot more of Bylsma’s trust, based off of playing in Pittsburgh and his 15:47 in the Russia game to Carlson’s 3:56.  I’m not a huge fan of that last stat, because I’m not a huge fan of Brooks Orpik, as you can tell.  It’s a testament to how shallow Pittsburgh’s defense was in last year’s playoffs that Orpik was on the “shutdown pair” with Martin.  He’s a good defenseman, but idk about top 6 for Team USA.  I’m not saying that Carlson is much better, but both of them should be way below Fowler and the rest in terms of ice time, as evidenced by Pavel Datsyuk’s first goal being almost entirely due to their inability to cover the center of the ice on his break.

All in all, Bylsma seems to be doing a great job.  The 4th line looked like it was slapped together, but they played better than expected the first game, and I do think there’s more to be had from them than what we saw in the Russia or Slovenia game (the latter of which they weren’t even together because of Pacioretty’s scratch).  No line is letting anyone down, and putting the Maple Leafs with a scorer like Joe Pavelski was crucial for the team, although it wasn’t that difficult of a decision.  With the exception of how he handled Orpik in the Russia game, Bylsma is doing a great job with the defensemen, also.  The hierarchy of the blueliners seems about right, and I feel pretty comfortable with the national team in Bylsma’s hands going forward.

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