Grades for Every Los Angeles King at the 2014 Olympics so Far
There is no debating it: The Los Angeles Kings are having a major influence on the 2014 men's Olympic hockey tournament in Sochi.
Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty are leading the way for Team Canada offensively, while Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick are two of the key leaders on the U.S. team. Slava Voynov helped Russia get through to the qualification round.
And surprisingly, Anze Kopitar and Team Slovenia are through to the quarterfinals as well, after upsetting Austria.
Who has exceeded expectations? Who needs to improve?
These are the grades for each King at the Olympics so far.
Stats courtesy of Sochi2014.iihf.com.
Anze Kopitar, Slovenia
Team Slovenia wasn't expected to qualify for the Olympics, now they're proving they deserve to be in Sochi. They shocked Slovakia, beating them 3-1 in the round robin and shut out Austria 4-0 in the qualification round.
As the only NHL player on the team, Anze Kopitar has played a big role. He's averaging more than 20 minutes per game in ice time and has two goals and one assist. He's also played a strong defensive game, as L.A. Kings fans are accustomed to seeing.
That said, there is still some room for improvement. Kopitar must look to drive to the net and shoot more often. He will need to deliver an A+ performance Wednesday, if Slovenia is to have any shot at upsetting Sweden.
Can Slovenia repeat what Belarus did in 2002?
Slava Voynov, Russia
Slava Voynov has logged a ton of ice time so far in Sochi. The 24-year-old defenseman has played more than 17 minutes per game. Only Andrei Markov has seen the ice more often among Russian blueliners.
Voynov has played with poise and confidence in his own end, making very few mistakes through three games. However, although he has a plus-three rating, Voynov has yet to register a point.
Voynov must work to push the pace offensively, take more shots and jump up on the rush if the opportunity presents itself. He has great speed and offensive skills which, surprisingly, the Russians may need.
Drew Doughty, Canada
Spectacular. Clutch. Offensive force.
These are just a few of the terms you could use to describe Drew Doughty's performance in Sochi.
The London, Ontario native is third in points in the tournament, with four goals and one assist in just three games. He has played flawlessly in the defensive end and made a number of good clean hits in all three zones.
While it wouldn't hurt for Doughty to continue to contribute offensively, there is no pressure on him to do so. He must continue to play strong defense, have a physical impact and help lead the rush.
Jeff Carter, Canada
In the weeks leading up to the tournament, Jeff Carter did little to prove he deserved to be on Team Canada, as he and the Kings struggled to score.
No one is doubting him now. Carter has had a big impact, scoring more goals than the rest of Canada's forwards combined. With three goals and one assist, only Doughty has more points than Carter.
Carter, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Marleau have been the team's best line, generating good scoring chances and slowing down the opposition in the neutral zone.
Carter must continue to find open spaces around the net and provide at least a couple more goals. He also must be prepared to adapt to new linemates. There is a chance he could be back on a line with Sidney Crosby before the Olympics are over.
Dustin Brown, USA
Dustin Brown is averaging fewer than 12 minutes per game in ice time, but he's made the most of his opportunities. He's notched a goal and an assist and is plus-three through three games.
As expected, Brown has been asked to play solid two-way hockey and physically outwork the opposition. Now he must prove to Dan Bylsma that he deserves more ice time, be it at even strength, special teams or both.
Brown has shown in the past in both the NHL and at World Championships that he can play solid defensively, but also score timely goals. The U.S. will need that secondary scoring when they face some of the world's best defensemen.
Jonathan Quick, USA
Jonathan Quick appears to have cemented himself as American's starting goaltender. According to USA Hockey, Quick will be in goal for Wednesday's quarterfinal showdown with Czech Republic.
Team USA's game against Russia was an instant classic, and although T.J. Oshie was the hero, Quick deserves a lot of credit as well.
He stopped 29 of 31 shots in the shootout win and also took a shot from L.A. teammate Slava Voynov after the game. Yahoo's Dmitry Chesnokov tweeted the following:
Voynov on Quick dislodging the net before the Tyutin disallowed goal: "I play with him. I know that's his style." #USAvRUS— Dmitry Chesnokov (@dchesnokov) February 15, 2014
Regardless of the disallowed goal, Quick has been brilliant with a .944 save percentage and 1.44 goals-against average in his two wins.
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