M-Brain Group

The great stories behind the Sochi hockey tournament

Blog post   •   Feb 26, 2014 09:08 GMT

The Sochi Olympics are now over. It is time to study how the players of our “Team Adaptive” did in the tournament and in the media. We used our latest M-Adaptive tool to monitor how often these players were mentioned in the digital and social media. We selected some of the most prominent names and stories among our team to cast a more detailed eye on. Sidney Crosby was the talked about player in digital media. Who else was popular? Let’s have a look.

Teemu Selänne (FIN)

One of the big news stories was Teemu Selänne playing his last game in the Finnish national team. Not only that, the 43-year-old legend played an excellent tournament. Selänne scored four goals and two assists in six games, thus adding to his record the greatest all-time scorer in the Olympics. He now has 43 points in 37 games in the Olympics, 24 of those points goals. Selänne was honored by being named the tournament’s MVP (Most Valuable Player). He has now won four medals in the Olympics: three bronze medals and a silver. Selänne played in a line with Mikael Granlund who turns 22 today. This in a way symbolized the passing of the torch in the Finnish hockey. Towards the end of the tournament Selänne and Granlund formed a playmaker-goalscorer-duo, and Granlund assisted Selänne’s last goal.

In digital media Teemu Selänne got attention especially on Saturday the 22th, the day of the bronze-medal game. And perhaps more importantly, it was the day of his retirement from the international competitions.

Sidney Crosby (CAN)

Sidney Crosby, deemed the best player in the world, did not have a huge tournament in terms of points. Crosby only scored one goal and two assists in six games. However, Crosby defended resiliently, scored his only goal in the final and led his team to Olympic gold.

In digital media, Crosby was the most consistently mentioned of all the players in our “Team Adaptive”. The attention towards Crosby peaked perhaps surprisingly on Friday, the day of the semifinal against the USA. The time in the clock might explain this: the match between the North American rivals aired at noon in the American East Coast. The final aired at 7 AM – not the most active time to be using social media.

Patrick Kane (USA)

This tournament clearly wasn’t Patrick Kane’s time to shine. His worst game was probably the bronze-medal match in which Kane was penalized three times and failed on two penalty shot attempts against Finnish goalie Tuukka Rask. Last spring Kane won Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the NHL Playoffs when his team Chicago Blackhawks conquered the Stanley Cup. This time Kane did not stand out in a tough spot. His Chicago teammate Jonathan Toews scored the gold-winning goal for Canada. Maybe it will be Kane’s turn four years from now.

Kane’s mentions in the digital media also peaked on Friday during the USA–Canada game. 

Tuukka Rask (FIN)

Tuukka Rask did not have a lot of matches under his belt in the Finnish national team. Rask proved to be worthy of all the trust placed in him by Finland’s head coach Erkka Westerlund.

Rask’s mentions peaked on Wednesday the 19th during the quarter-final against Russia and on Saturday the 22nd during the bronze-medal game against the USA. Rask was out with flu in the semifinal against Sweden on Friday – hence less mentions in digital media. Kari Lehtonen was named the starting goaltender almost in the last minute against Sweden, but still managed to play a great game.

Erik Karlsson (SWE)

Erik Karlsson was named the best defenseman of the tournament. Karlsson tied the top spot in Olympic scoring with USA’s Phil Kessel with eight points in six games. Kessel was named the top scorer because he scored five goals and Karlsson “only” four.

Karlsson peaked in the media on Friday when Sweden played against Finland in the semifinal. Karlsson scored the game-winner with a huge slapshot. Karlsson scored in a similar fashion against the Czech Republic on Wednesday the 12th. Social media took note.

The Russian names weren’t high on mentions in the digital media. One reason could be that they perhaps are called with nicknames like “Ovie” for Ovechkin. Another explanation could be that they are mentioned on last name basis more often than other nationalities. Here is an example of a comparison between first plus last name vs. only the last name:

The comparisons were made using a “first name + last name” search. This was to keep things simple with names such as Patrick Kane among those tracked. We also included different ways of spelling, such as the Cyrillic script with Russian names and Selänne both with and without the dots on top of the ‘a’.

Sidney Crosby gathered the most mentions among our “Team Adaptive” (check out the whole team here). “Sidney Crosby” was mentioned over 17 000 times. “Teemu Selänne” was second with over 14 000 mentions and Patrick Kane third with about 13 000 mentions.

Lastly, we want to thank your for experiencing Sochi with us. The Olympics were as exciting as ever and the games garnered some record attention in the social media. Some of the sports fans might be feeling empty after the Winter Games but remember: the year of sports is not over!

We also wrote a post about the ice hockey teams in Sochi. If you haven’t checked that out yet, you can read it here.

This post was written by Mikko Latva-Koivisto with assistance from Topi Laakso. 

Mikko works as a Content Specialist at M-Brain. He also works as an assistant in marketing and communications projects. This year Mikko will graduate as BBA in Marketing. Led Zeppelin, NHL and statistics include some of his passions.

Topi is a Senior Analyst at M-Brain. He has worked for several years with media analyses, specializing in evaluation of editorial and social media. Topi has a special interest in English football. He likes to side with underdogs, such as Norwich City.