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03-21-2013, 12:42 PM
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PocketNines's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Crested Butte, CO
Posts: 9,298
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Yeah, Oshie is still the best (or close to it) reverse hitter in the game. Period.

From last year's Player Usage Charts:

"New coach Ken Hitchcock adopted a classic player usage chart with gifted do-it-all players like Selke finalist David Backes and highly underrated TJ Oshie getting the toughest minutes, followed by David Perron and Patrik Berglund, both of whom occasionally struggled in their more challenging two-way roles. Also on the upper end of forward duties were Vladimir Sobotka, perennially injured Andy McDonald, and another do-it-all player in Alexander Steen.

The easier minutes went to secondary players like Chris Stewart, 36-year-old veteran Jamie Langenbrunner and former 20-goal scorer Matt D'Agostini, with the remaining depth minutes going to 37-year-old defensive-minded pest Scott Nichol ...

It's clear who Hitchcock relies on to do his heavy lifting for the team. It is extremely impressive that David Backes and TJ Oshie performed so well against such difficult competition. Both players registered a positive Relative Corsi rating despite facing the most difficult competition on the team as well as the fewest offensive zone starts.

It's interesting to see that the player usage chart for the Blues takes on more of a linear shape than most of the others. This implies that Hitchcock likes to use his players either against tough competition in their own end or easy competition in the offensive end and there is very little in-between (i.e., high offensive zone start against difficult competition). In theory, this means he trusts his best players to take care defending their own net while he allows the bulk of the offensive action to go to players he trusts less against good competition. This follows pretty well with what is apparent when watching the team, Hitchcock's focus has always been in the defensive zone. He takes care of the defensive end first and then builds from there, and this is obvious in observing the player usage chart."

Someone who says Oshie is not in David Backes' defensive league has a poor understanding of hockey.

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