Ranking Capitals Olympians on the RMNB Putin-Weir Matrix


Five Washington Capitals players participated in the Olympics and all of them had a miserable time. No one tore an MCL like John Tavares of the Islanders or got back surgery like Henrik Zetterberg of the Wings, but you can’t really say the Caps escaped Sochi unscathed. It was basically a ten-day pain parade that we’d all like to forget as soon as possible.

But not yet.

We need to understand it better first. We should map in our minds the unfettered misery of the Sochi Olympics. For reasons. To this end I have devised a two-dimensional matrix of sadness and badassness. Presenting the RMNB Putin-Weir matrix. (I’m really proud of this, so shut up.)

On one axis we have Sad Putin, the basic unit of human suffering. Based on the works of Viktor Frankl and Martin Buber, Sad Putin measures bad things like losing, losing real bad, getting eviscerated by the media, getting busted injecting black tar allergy medicine, and missing the birth of your child.

On the other axis we have Badass Weir, the basic unit of yolo. To rank on the Weir axis, one must outperform expectations, scoar a sick goal, buck the trends, and generally be a cool dude like Johnny Weir.

By combining these metrics, I hope to understand precisely how sucky the Sochi Olympics were. I don’t know why we’d want to do that, but we’re doing it.

Marcus Johansson

Marcus was a late addition to the Swedish roster. As a sometimes scratch, he played just five games out of six and barely over ten minutes per game on average. Johansson recorded just one assist in the tourney, but his team fought valiantly all the way to the gold medal game.

Plus, he rode a bicycle while wearing a suit, which is so quintessentially badass.

Then again, Marcus has to make a pit stop at home in Sweden to pick up a new visa before he returns to America. That’s so Putin.

Six out of ten Sad Putins for not getting a lot of play, losing the big game, and having to deal with immigration.

Four out of ten Badass Weirs for getting an assist, looking like a stud riding whatever the Russian version of a Huffy is, and actually getting a medal, unlike some people…

Nick Backstrom

Poor baby. Nick Backstrom had a ton of chemistry with Daniel Sedin, recording four assists in five games. Missing the Henriks (Sedin and Zetterberg) probably limited Nicky’s and Sweden’s chances to kick some ace. What should’ve been Nick’s chance to step out of Ovi’s shadow ended up being a fiasco.

Because drugs. Specifically Zyrtec D, which you’d think was a dangerous, life-ruining, schedule-I drug like marijuana or a performance-enhancing magic cocktail like Mountain Dew the way the IOC flipped out about it. Backstrom missed the gold medal game— the final game of the tournament and the biggest game of his career. All because he had the sniffles.

Ten out of ten Sad Putins for the war on drugs.

Five out of ten Badass Weirs for biking Swede-style and allowing only one goal against in nearly 92 minutes of ice.

Martin Erat

Marty was another late call-up to the Olympics– filling in when Vladimir Sobotka went down with a leg injury.

After going approximately infinity games without a goal, Erat scored an empty netter going into the break. Watch the floodgates, y’all. Erat struck again against the Latvians. The Czechs got bounced by a still-plucky, not-yet-broken American team in the quarterfinals.

So while it’s cool Marty went to the big show and continued to unslump himself, he didn’t medal and, oh yeah, he missed the birth of his child.

Only three out of ten Sad Putins because I bet they got pictures of the baby and that’s almost the same thing, right?

Six out of ten Badass Weirs for scoring on a goal that actually had a goalie in it.

John Carlson

Star of the 2010 World Junior Championship, Caps defenseman John Carlson was primed for moar international excellence. Except instead of sharing a shutdown pairing with Ryan McDonagh like he shoulda, Carlson spent time with relative plugs like Cam Fowler and Brooks Orpik. After Pavel Datsyuk owned Carlson and Orpik in the big US-Russia game, he was effectively benched. He got some more ice after that and even recorded his first ever Olympic goal in the team’s first game against Slovakia.

Then his teammates defaced his stall and the Americans suffered ignominious defeat at the hands of the Canadians and lost Bronze to a bunch of old Finnish guys.

Seven out of ten Sad Putins for that epic letdown following the loss to Canada, shaming a nation that I’m surprised to learn is still capable of shame.

Four out of ten Badass Weirs for scoring America’s first goal and surviving an assignment next to Brooks Orpik.

Alex Ovechkin

The face of the Sochi Olympics was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Teemu Selanne and the Finns. While he put 24 shots on goal, Ovechkin scored just once– on his first shot in his first game. That’s not all that uncommon among shooters like Ovi, but when I tried to explain that to all the nice folks with pitchforks and torches, they were oddly unreceptive.

The Russians reportedly spent 50 billion dollars on these games, but without a medal in men’s hockey it’s apparently all a waste. Following the loss to Finland, Russian coach Bilyaletdinov threw him under the bus. Cue JP’s organ grinder.

I so called it.

On top of that, Ovi’s dad required heart surgery, but he will be okay.

Nine out of ten Sad Putins because this was agonizing. At least he didn’t have the sniffles.

Nine out of ten Badass Weirs because Ovi’s weathered this and worse. He’ll be fine. He’s freaking Ovi.

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  • Owen Johnson

    Day one thoughts: Ovi and Carlson scored their teams first goals of the tournament. Even Erat scored. This is going to be a good tournament.
    Aftermath: OH GOD PLEASE KILL ME!

  • Dan

    Worst Olympics ever.

  • scrubversive

    Hahaha, thanks for raising my spirits, Peter. Also thanks for letting me in on the dirty secret to chemical abuse! Time to experiment with marijuana, mountain dew and zyrtec-d. Next time you hear from me I’ll be writing from a crappy dell in the half-way house after rehab.

  • When Oshie won in the shootout, I was having SO MUCH FUN.

    It changed so fast.

  • Hockey mom

    I think Garth Brooks wrote a song about this….


  • Jennifer Carignan

    I give this post ten out of ten Badass Weirs.

  • Fedor

    Why have I never been a fan of Johnny Weir, to say the least…

  • Hockey mom

    Sorry this is a better link. It is kind of interesting to hear Garth tell about the meaning…


  • If we would have used #OLLIFACE, would that have been good or evil?

  • Catherine__M

    Ohhhhh soooooo creeeeepyyy. I love it.

  • Owen Johnson

    My first reaction; damn, all Fins look alike
    Second reaction; D-:

  • Kate Jamison

    Oh my this is super creepy, but the two bald ones are uber creepy.

  • Graham Dumas

    Jokinen. Jokinen-Jokinen. Jokinen? JOKINEN!


  • Jaime

    I am a fan of the rating scale. Johnny Weir was the only thing that got me through this awful period in sports. If you’re looking for further entertainment and you haven’t already seen it, I recommend checking out his exhibition routine to Poker Face on YouTube. I’m too lazy to include a link; sorry.

  • Barrett

    1. John Carlson was not regularly paired with Brooks Orpik, that was Paul Martin.
    2. That was completely his fault when Datsyuk scored, he was way too far to the right.
    3. Ryan McDonagh, Cam Fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk all out-played him this season and during the Olympics and Cam Fowler isn’t a “relative plug” and cannot in any way be compared to Brooks Orpik.
    4. He was basically the 6th defenseman ahead of Carolina’s Justin Faulk and behind Ryan Suter, McDonagh, Orpik, Martin, Fowler and Shattenkirk.

  • Shawn Murphy


  • 1. I disagree.
    2. I disagree.
    3. I disagree.
    4. I agree.

  • Chris Cerullo

    1. You don’t understand Peter’s sarcasm
    2. Carlson whenever he played was definitely always paired with Orpik
    3. Carlson has played at the same level as both Fowler/Shatty
    4. He should have played more minutes and proved it in the Canadian game

  • Barrett

    1. Didn’t seem like sarcasm.
    2. No, Carlson was not paired regularly with Orpik. He didn’t play with him at all in game 1 against Slovakia. He was left out on a line change against Russia when Datsyuk scored and was benched afterwards. He didn’t play with Orpik regularly against Slovenia either, in fact he didn’t even get on the ice the first chance the 3rd defensive pairing had in that game. The USA defensive pairings were : Suter/McDonagh; Orpik/Martin and Fowler/Shattenkirk/Carlson. (You can watch the full games at nbcolympics.com) He didn’t see significant playing time with Orpik until the semifinal matchup against the Canadians and was on ice for the only goal.
    3. John Carlson: 10G, 13A, 23Pts, -3, 123BkS, 32GvA, 38TkA
    Ryan McDonagh: 8G, 22A, 30Pts, +2, 95BkS, 54GvA, 38TkA
    Cam Fowler: 6G, 25A, 31Pts, +11, 106BkS, 31GvA, 21TkA
    Kevin Shattenkirk: 8G, 28A, 36Pts, +12, 74BkS, 23GvA, 28TkA
    He’s definitely the best shot blocker of the four, that’s about it, but I don’t know if you can attribute that to the overall volume of shot attempts that the Capitals as a team seem to face night in and night out or his skill level in doing so. Probably a little of both.

    4. I don’t think he proved anything in the semifinal matchup against the Canadians. Every single good scoring chance the Canadians had John Carlson was on the ice with either Cam Fowler or Brooks Orpik.

  • Here’s the usage chart for the D you named. Clustered tightly except for Shattenkirk. http://www.extraskater.com/players/dashboard?players=512,597,125,222#player-usage-chart

    Also, please recall that Paul Martin got hurt during the CZE game, changing the D pairings.

  • Roman Z.

    That shootout never happened. Russia won that game 3-1 and everyone lived happily ever after.

  • HP

    LOL can’t believe you had Carlson has played on Shattenkirk’s level.

  • Chris Cerullo

    You’re literally wrong about absolutely everything. The fact that you just threw out random statistics means nothing to me. That 4th point is just….. I don’t even.

  • Chris Cerullo

    LOL sweet grammar. Check the usage chart Peter posted below. LOL.

  • Barrett

    Paul Martin’s injury didn’t have any impact on until the matchup with the Canadians, which I pointed out earlier, that Carlson was paired with Orpik and they were abused the entire game.

    Yay, more fancy bubble charts. How exactly do you measure the “Quality of Competition”? All I see here statistically is a 2nd pair defenseman putting up better statistical numbers across the board than the other three. I would imagine Cam Fowler (the Ducks) and Kevin Shattenkirk (the Blues) face better teams night in and night out in the Western Conference than John Carlson or Ryan McDonagh do with their teams in the terrible Metro Division of the Eastern Conference.

  • Barrett

    Yes, all those are random statistics…..i made them all up. I’m literally, not wrong about any of it. Way to bring something to the discussion, chief.

  • QoC on ExtraSkater is based on the percentage of time the player is on the ice– based on the idea that coaches play better players more than bad players.

  • Barrett

    So, they aren’t actually measuring how good the competition is, just how much ice-time a player gets? How does a players ice-time create any hard statistical data on his quality of play?

    By that definition, it would seem Shattenkirk is a pretty damn good defenseman, he doesn’t get as much ice-time as Carlson, Fowler or McDonagh, yet has either matched or surpassed them statistically.

  • It’s the average amount of ice time that player’s competition gets. Sorry I wasn’t clear.

    You can read the chart as meaning Shattenkirk gets better results with much easier deployment/competition, whereas the other three are fairly clustered with minor differences in results.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Prove me to without using stupid stats like points, +-, etc. Give me advanced stats that can prove your point. You cant as Peter is currently owning you above.

  • Barrett

    Goals, assists, points total, blocked shots, giveaways and takeaways are all better indicators of a player’s ability than time on ice. I fail to see how the most important stat (goals) is, in your words, “stupid”.

    Also, I don’t have to prove anything. I made the original comment. You haven’t supplied anything to this conversation to counter my statements.

  • Rhino40

    –“Surely, you must be Jokin'(en)”
    –“No, I’m not. And stop calling me Shirley.”

  • I don’t think you’re right about that.

    Giveaways and takeaways are renowned for their subjectivity. Tons of home/road bias in them. http://www.arcticicehockey.com/2009/10/12/1081096/giveaways-and-takeaways

    Blocked shots correlate to poor puck possession. Players who block more by definition have the puck less. http://objectivenhl.blogspot.com/2011/02/shots-fenwick-and-corsi.html

    G-A-P doesn’t indicate defensive skill at all. I don’t think I need a link to back that one up.

    TOI rules. http://nhlnumbers.com/2012/8/16/a-competition-metric-based-on-ice-time



  • Barrett

    Ryan Suter : TOI/G = 29:49 (#1 for US born defenseman)
    John Carlson : TOI/G = 24:47 (#2)
    Ryan McDonagh : TOI/G = 24:35 (#4)
    Paul Martin : TOI/G = 24:23 (#5)
    Cam Fowler : TOI/G = 23:54 (#10)
    Justin Faulk : TOI/G = 23:50 (#11)
    Brooks Orpik : TOI/G = 21:13 (#19)
    Kevin Shattenkirk : TOI/G = 20:24 (#26)

    The TOI per game numbers for these players are so close between the middle guys (Carlson thru Faulk) that the only way to distinguish them from one another is by their hard stat numbers. If TOI/G was the lone indicator on how good a player is then I’m wondering why Andy Greene, Dustin Byfuglien, Alex Goligoski, Keith Yandle or Jack Johnson didn’t make the roster. All those players have more TOI/G and some-what better stats than half the players that actually were there.

    There’s a reason I didn’t solely use GvA and TkA numbers, or only blocked shots or only goals, assists and points. I took all of that into consideration.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Because these are DEFENSEMEN

  • Barrett

    So, what’s the problem with Carlson not getting any more playing time? Based on your fancy bubble chart, he had more favorable zone starts against almost equal competition than all the players ahead of him on the team USA depth chart.

    It doesn’t really help his case except to show some validity to Shattenkirk being placed in more favorable situations – which I attributed to him being on the 2nd defense pair.

  • Barrett

    Did you miss out on Team Canada’s defenseman selections? Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, PK Subban, Shea Weber and Jay Bouwmeester are all offensive minded defenseman. Marc-Andre Vlasic and Dan Hamhuis are the closest thing to “shut-down” defenseman they selected.

  • I think you might be strawmanning a bit here. I don’t think I ever said that TOI/G was the lone indicator of how good a player is. I also lost the plot on your point a while back and I was just trying to be useful with facts and references. I don’t have any strong agenda here.

  • JenniferH

    It really truly was. And not just hockey, every event I was rooting for, dude, it just sucked all-around. Worst. Olympics. EVAR!

  • Barrett

    Thanks for the links too. Great info!
    I know you are just bringing facts and references, you always have great input in that regard. I’m just carrying on the conversation. No hard feelings from me. Just love talking hockey.