Hockey Stars Who'll Benefit Most from Larger Ice Surface at 2014 Sochi Olympics

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Hockey Stars Who'll Benefit Most from Larger Ice Surface at 2014 Sochi Olympics
Harry How/Getty Images

When the Canadians won the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics, they did so on a NHL-sized rink. When they head to Sochi to defend that medal for the 2014 Winter Games, they will be doing so on an international-sized rink.

On paper, the differences between the two don't seem like much. Brady MacDonald of the Los Angeles Times broke down the differences between the two rinks prior to the 2010 games, and the graphic still applies.

According to MacDonald, the NHL's ice surface is 15 percent smaller overall. NHL players are used to rinks that are 15 feet narrower, while both surfaces come in at 200 feet long. Where things get tricky is with the depth of the zones.

The NHL's offensive zone is six feet deeper than that of the international offensive zone, which tends to cause defenses to play more passively. The international ice surface also features eight extra feet to work with in the neutral zone.

While the offensive zones are more shallow, they are wider, which give fleet-footed defenseman even more room to work with laterally. There's also more room to work with coming off the boards, which places a premium on stick-handling and puck control. 

There's also a little bit more room to work with behind the net, which bodes well for the more shifty players that will be in Sochi.

 

All statistics appear courtesy of Hockeydb.com.

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