Early-season player usage surprises 

October, 8, 2013

Henrik Sedin, John Tortorella and Daniel SedinGetty ImagesHenrik and Daniel Sedin have seen an increase in ice time under John Tortorella.
Every coach and GM has his own barometer for when he starts making judgments on how the team is shaping up during a season. The Philadelphia Flyers, as we learned, might be the least forgiving.

St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock prefers to reach double digits in the games played department.

"I judge it after 10 [games]. I think you get an evaluation on your whole team game. You get an evaluation on where your buy-in is," he said.

For Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates, the evaluation is ongoing.

"In all honesty, you're evaluating your players all the time. One game, two games, 20 games, 40 games," Oates said when we chatted Monday afternoon. "A coach got fired today; I think it's endless. Everybody has a leash, I'm sure the leash changes for everybody."

The season is young, but we're already seeing interesting player usage trends as coaches try to figure out what they have. In some cases, it's new playing time on special teams; in others, it's more time in the press box than they might have expected.

Here are some of the most intriguing usage developments in the early going (advanced stats per behindthenet.ca and extraskater.com):