A few weeks ago, Team Canada released their camp roster and three Bruins were invited along for the ride. I would say it's a given that Patrice Bergeron makes the Team Canada roster, but Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand? Those two aren't the locks we in Boston would like to think they are. First lets take a look at the forwards list.
Note that position doesn't really mean anything when it comes to the Olympics. At one point in 2010, Patrice Bergeron played on a line with Jonathan Toews and Jarome Iginla - with Toews centering the group. So you can immediately throw out the notion that Mike Babcock is only going to take five centers, five wingers, etc. He'll put the best players together.
So where does that leave Brad Marchand?
Well there's a few things you can do:
After the jump, lets do those things!...
1. Play The Name Game
It's pretty easy for us to look at that list and say that Brad Marchand probably isn't going to make the Team Canada roster. In 2010, Canada picked 13 forwards to go to Vancouver and eventually win a gold medal. By looking at this list, you have to ask yourself if Brad Marchand is the 13th best player on this roster. You can answer that question a number of ways.
Honestly, just by looking at this list - I would say no. There 13 other players I would rather have than Brad Marchand playing in an international tournament with different rules. Experience also plays into my choice, with a number of guys being on the 2010 Team Canada roster.
A lot of people dislike using corsi when talking about hockey. In fact, a lot of them dislike using advanced statistics at all, but I think there's a place for them in the game. Are they perfect? Nope. Not many things are when you're talking about a team game like this, but they can help break down a player's performance over the year.
Before I get into the numbers, let's define Corsi HARO, HARD, HART and HART QOT (from Hockey Analysis):
HARO: One should interpret HARO ratings to mean that when the player was on the ice his team had x% (where x is his rating) more goals for than expected (as determined by his quality of team mates and quality of competition).
HARD: For defensive HARD ratings the effect is opposite. One should interpret the HARD ratings to mean that when the player is on the ice his team gave up x% (where his rating is x) fewer goals than expected (as determined by quality of teammates and opposition).
HART: The average of HARO and HARD.
HARD QOT: Average HART ratings of team mates.
Example: So, a 10 HARO rating indicates the player boosted his teams expected goal scoring rate by 10% and a 10 HARD rating indicates the player reduced his teams expected goals against rate by 10%.
Please note: The search was done for the 2012-2013 season, using 100 minutes played as a base. I also only used the forwards (as defensemen have nothing to do with this post, duh).
First lets take a look at HARO. Out of the entire camp roster, Brad Marchand is third in Corsi HARO behind Sidney Crosby (31) and Patrice Bergeron (30.3). Marchand rocks a 27.8 ratings, meaning when he's on the ice there's a 27.8% boost to the team's goal scoring when he's on the ice. It isn't really a shock, since Marchand spent all year beside a guy who's Corsi was higher than his.
When you look at a team like the Bruins, who were 13th overall in the NHL regular season this year in goals scored per game, it's tough to really quantify what Marchand has meant to them. We, as Bruins fans, know that scoring doesn't really come at a premium with this club given Claude Julien's scheme.
Funny that Claude Julien is also on the Team Canada coaching staff.
Anyway, offense is pretty easy to look at when it comes to a forward.
Do they score goals?
Do they shoot?
Do they contribute with assists?
These are all things that we most forwards do, especially the ones on this list. Yes Steven Stamkos can score goals. Yes, Sidney Crosby can make the players are him better (hello Chris Kunitz).
You have to ask yourself, how is this forward defensively.
Well, if you look at Corsi HARD, Marchand ranks 7th among the camp invitees with a solid 10. Using the example in red, this indicates that when Marchand is on the ice, he reduced Boston's expected goals against by 10%. I mean, if you want to get crazy, you can throw Bergeron's 15.3 rating and you quickly realize why the Bruins were third in the regular season with a 2.21 goals against average and fourth with a 87/1% PK success rate.
Again, you can contribute this to Claude system, where forwards are held accountable for getting back to their own blue line and making sure that no opposing player is left alone. It's very rare to see a Bruins forward take a chance and break away from their defensive assignment.
Lastly, I want to talk about HART QOT, which rates a player's quality of team mates. This shouldn't be a shock to anyone but Marchand ranks first in quality of team mates (19.8), with Bergeron (19.3) and Milan Lucic (16.6) rounding out the top three. So when three Bruins lead the HART QOT category, what's that tell you?
That they are really fucking good.
But then it makes you wonder - are Marchand's numbers infalted due to him playing with one of the best two way players on the planet? Is it because he plays on one of the best teams in the NHL with a system that puts an emphasis on defensive play? If you look at a team that uses a more offensive approach, say the Carolina Hurricanes, you'll see some crazy things.
Both Eric and Jordan Staal, who are invitees to Team Canada, have a HARO of 16.2 and 21.7 respectively. Their HARD, though, is atrocious. Jordan Staal's HARD is -19.9, which means there is a 19.9% increase the opposing team scores a goal with him on the ice. Eric's HARD? Even worse at -37.2.
Do I think Brad Marchand makes Team Canada?
I would say it would be stupid to leave him off the roster. He does things over than score that can be valuable to Canada - such as killing penalties and playing defense. Canada is loaded with scorers, but less than half of the roster posts a postive HARD rating.
There's something to be said about that.