Some numbers from Sochi may surprise you
As we continue to look back at the 2014 Olympic men’s hockey tournament, here are 10 stunning statistics that came out of those 12 magical days in February.
1. RUSSIA DRIES UP
Russia has always been known for its ability to produce offense. But over the last three Olympics, the Russians haven’t lived up to their reputation in key situations.
The 2014 host nation has now been outscored by a whopping 17-6 margin in its last five medal round games, dating back to its 2-0 quarter-final victory over Canada in Turin 2006. Russia hasn’t won a medal since taking bronze in Salt Lake City 2002.
2. BIG GUNS
The U.S.’s Phil Kessel and Austria’s Michael Grabner didn’t just share the tournament goal-scoring lead (five). They actually equalled or exceeded the output of entire nations. Slovakia only scored five goals overall, and Norway got just three goals.
3. THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Starting Canadian goalie Carey Price put himself into the record books with a shutout streak of 164:19 to close the Games. That tied the product of Anahim Lake, British Columbia with Canada’s Don Head (1960) for the fourth-longest streak of all time, and the longest in the modern era (1954 and after).
Price didn’t concede another goal after Latvia’s Lauris Darzins scored on a breakaway at 15:41 of the first period in a 2-1 quarter-final win for Canada.
4. STAND ON GUARD FOR THEEContinue reading
Defence is something Canada took to extremes. In Sochi, the defending champions from Vancouver allowed just three goals in six games. That was the lowest total since the Canadians won a three-game Olympics in 1928 with zero goals given up.
But with its emphasis on backchecking, Canada also scored remarkably little: its 17 goals were the fewest ever tallied by a gold medalist.
5. KEEPING IT CLEAN
Remarkably, not a single player broke into double digits in penalty-minute totals in Sochi. Five players from five different countries tied for the Olympic lead with eight PIM apiece.
That was quite a contrast with Vancouver 2010, where Finland’s Joni Pitkanen recorded a tournament-high 29 PIM, or Turin 2006, where Russia’s Ilya Kovalchuk and Finland’s Jarkko Ruutu tied for the fourth-most sin bin time in Olympic history (31 PIM). All hail “Fair Play and Respect.”
6. SHUTOUTS GALORE
Amid talk of the big European ice surface facilitating ultra-defensive play, goalies recorded lots of shutouts. There were 11 shutouts in total in Sochi, the same as in Turin. There were only seven goose eggs in Vancouver, and five in both Salt Lake City and Nagano.
7. TEENAGE TERROR
While Finnish defenceman Olli Maatta didn’t come away with an all-star team berth, the 19-year-old Jyvaskyla native did pull off a notable feat en route to the bronze medal. His five points put him in a tie for fourth place in the tournament scoring derby.
The last teenager to crack the Top 10 in Winter Games scoring was Russia’s Yevgeni Malkin, who tied for sixth place with six points in 2006 at age 19.
8. LEHTONEN THE PLAYMAKER?
If Finnish goaltender Kari Lehtonen played for Switzerland, he would have led the team in scoring at this tournament. The Dallas Stars veteran registered two assists in a 6-1 preliminary round win over Norway. No Swiss player had more than one point in the tournament.
Lehtonen now shares the Olympic career record for goalie assists with the Czech Republic’s Tomas Vokoun.
9. THE “HART TRICK”
Sochi saw five former winners of the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP taking part: Canada’s Sidney Crosby (2007), Corey Perry (2011) and Martin St. Louis (2004) and Russia’s Alexander Ovechkin (2008, 2009, 2013) and Yevgeni Malkin (2012). They didn’t score a lot of goals, though. The five combined for a “Hart trick,” as Crosby, Ovechkin, and Malkin tallied once apiece.
10. THE SLOVENIAN MIRACLE
The IIHF first used quarter-finals at the 1992 Albertville Olympics, and no nation has ever cracked the quarter-finals with fewer registered male players than Slovenia (148) this year. That seems like a statistic that should endure for a long time.
But interestingly, South Korea, host of the 2018 Olympics, currently has just 120 male players. If there is no major upsurge in registration between now and then, and if Korea is either automatically qualified for 2018 or manages to climb the IIHF World Ranking into the top 12 (depending on what system is in place for PyeongChang)...well, that’s a lot of ifs, but then again, hockey is full of surprises.
Back to Overview