As Team Canada prepares for the start of the quarterfinals in Sochi, the group of NHLers is still undergoing a learning process and making adjustments to the larger ice surfaces.
While the standard NHL rink measures out at 200 feet by 85 feet, international surfaces come in at 200 feet by 100 feet. That extra 15 feet means a number of changes come into play for the offense, defense and goaltender.
Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby talked to reporters about the changes that need to be made from an offensive perspective.
"I think that you're a little further from the net when they start putting the pressure on you, so instead of being one or two steps away having to fight to get to the net, you're probably four or five, so it takes a little longer to get there," he said. "Then by the time you do, they usually have someone coming to support, so even if you have that step it's a little tougher to get there."
Team Canada's offensive production has been a hot topic throughout the men's hockey preliminary rounds. After recording a 6-0 shutout victory in their opening matchup with Austria, they tallied a 3-1 win over Norway and a 2-1 overtime victory against Finland. While their defense has looked strong throughout those games, their offensive numbers haven't been as high as initially expected.
Jonathan Toews said he and his teammates are continuing to makes changes to their game, and he's confident in the chemistry he's seeing develop as the Winter Games continue.
"(Compared to) the NHL, one of the differences I see in terms of style of game that we've had to change as a team is that there's so much dump and chase," he told reporters. "To get from A to B, it's not very far (on North American surfaces), and you can have wingers stretch to the far blue line and chip it in and go chase after it and try and generate some offense.
"Here the corners are so far away and so deep that the goalie can usually get behind the net and stop the puck if you're trying to rim it to the far side. There's little examples like that that really changes the style of the game. It's more puck possession, if anything if you don't have a play you're better to just circle around and keep the puck and wait for everyone to regroup."
Now Toews and his teammates will try to apply the changes they've been working on as they face off against Latvia in the quarterfinals. The puck drops on Wednesday at 11 a.m. CT and will be shown on the USA Network.