Today, the last games of the preliminary rounds were played in the men’s ice hockey tournament that is, oh-so-popular during the Winter Olympic games.
Without the ups-and-downs of San Jose Sharks’ hockey in our daily lives, life can get a bit boring. And if you don’t want to wake up at 4:30 am to watch Team USA and Joe Pavelski play (we don’t blame you) then you will have only two Sharks players to watch in Sochi: Patrick Marleau and Marc-Édouard Vlasic. We can’t even watch Antti Niemi, because he is behind Tuukka Rask and Kari Lehtonen as Finland’s third-string goaltender.
Our very own Marleau has thrived on the big stage in Sochi. He logged the second most minutes in Canada’s first preliminary round game against Norway. He was only behind the one and only Jonathan Toews. Marleau assisted Drew Doughty’s goal in the third period that essentially crushed all of Norway’s hopes for an upset. In Canada’s second game, a 6-0 rout of Austria, Marleau played a huge role. He assisted all three of Jeff Carter’s goals and hit one post. After the game, Marleau sat atop the points leaderboard for the Sochi tournament.
A big reason why Marleau is performing so well is because of the bigger ice surface that is used for national team contests. All Sharks fans are aware of Marleau’s insane speed, and having more space on the ice just give Marleau more room to run opponents down.
Pavelski has been playing alongside James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel on Team USA. That is one goal-scoring line, if I do say so myself. In Team USA’s first game, a 7-1 destruction of Slovakia, Pavelski was rather quiet on the offense end. He was the only player that recorded a minus in the +/- statistic during that game. But he made up for his subpar play in the much-anticipated USA vs. Russia group game. Pavelski put the Americans up 2-1 on the power play on a perfect pass from Patrick Kane. Unfortunately for Pavelski, his goal will always be overshadowed by T.J. Oshie’s four-goal shootout performance.
Vlasic, as expected, is not in the spotlight when people talk about Team Canada. With basically all the NHL stars playing around him, Vlasic said that he is fine with the lack of attention that he gets. He told Arpon Basu of NHL.com about his “life under the radar”:
That isn’t much of a factor for me. I’m a quiet guy. I just do what I do on the ice. Other than that, as long as your peers and coaches know you, to me that’s what’s most important.
What he does on the ice is beyond spectacular as Vlasic has pretty much solidified himself as one of the top defensemen on the Sharks.
As for Niemi, he has yet to dress for Finland.
Stay tuned to www.sjsharksnews.com for updated reports on how the Sharks are doing in Sochi.