USA Hockey 2014: Profiling All 6 Potential Starting Goaltenders in Sochi Games
The 2014 Winter Olympic Games are less than 70 days away (thanks, internet), and the host country Russia certainly cannot wait to get the games under way.
Team USA has their sights set on bringing home the gold medal from Sochi, Russia; however, they have yet to name a favorite as America's starting goaltender for the games.
Here is a full profile of each of the six American goaltenders with a fighting chance to be crowned as the starting goalie for the 2014 Winter Olympics...enjoy.
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Current Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard is likely to make the team as one of the three goalies USA will bring to Sochi.
Here's a breakdown of Howard's last 10 NHL games:
Howard has led the Wings to 35 points this season—just three back from the Eastern Conference front-running Penguins with 38. Howard has played eight seasons in Detroit, starting nearly 250 games and recording 20 playoff wins in the process.
Howard took home a gold medal with the U-18 IIHF American team back in 2002 and made his mark when he got to the NHL with a runner-up finish for Rookie of the Year in 2010.
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick has been sidelined with an injury since last suiting up in mid-November, and during his time away from the net, Kings backup goaltender Ben Scrivens has emerged as a reliable goaltender, having led the league in goals against average and save percentage over the last three weeks.
Here's a look at Quick's last 10 NHL games:
Quick's numbers haven't been this low since the 2009-10 season, however his Stanley Cup run in 2011 was purely remarkable and arguably one of the best playoff performances of all-time—meaning Quick is not far from being named USA's starting goaltender.
Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop is currently third in the league in wins (14), which is certainly an accomplishment for a team that finished third to last in the previous season despite having two of the league's top scorers in Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.
Bishop has shown incredible promise during his short time as an NHL goaltender, having played just 65 games throughout six NHL seasons.
Here's a look at Bishop's last 10 NHL games:
The 6'7'' netminder's recent hot streak is certainly enough to give him a fair shot of making the 2014 USA National team, especially with Jonathan Quick currently being sidelined with an injury.
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
Sabres netminder Ryan Miller established himself as USA's starter three months before the Vancouver games, however his silver medal in 2010 has not been enough to retain the starting position four years later.
Here's a look at Miller's last 10 NHL games:
Miller won the Vezina Trophy along with helping carry the 2010 USA hockey team to an overtime loss in the gold medal game of 2010. He has not been as reliable as he was in 2010; however, his experience with team USA is extremely beneficial, and it would be surprising to see Miller left off the 2014 team.
Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils
Devils goalie Cory Schneider is currently third in the league in goals against average (1.72) despite only starting 12 of the Devils' 27 games. Schneider splits time in New Jersey with one of the greatest goaltenders of all time, Martin Brodeur.
Here's a look at Schneider's last 10 NHL games:
Schneider, no stranger to the backup role after his five seasons in Vancouver, will be named the Devils' starting goaltender when Brodeur retires. Schneider was signed in Vancouver to back up one of the best goalies in recent history, Roberto Luongo, and flourished in his role so well that the Canucks were forced to trade him while his market stock was so high.
Tim Thomas, Florida Panthers
Team USA's most experienced goaltender is, without question, Tim Thomas.
Thomas has two Vezina trophies as the league's top goaltender (2009, 2011), as well as his three Game 7 victories during the Bruins incredible Stanley Cup run in 2011.
Thomas is now a Florida Panther, and here's a look at his last 10 NHL games:
Thomas' numbers in 2013 have been remarkable for playing on such a young and inexperienced Panthers team.
Team USA general manager David Poile will have to decide whether or not to extend an invitation to the 39-year-old, or if he wants to use that roster spot as a resume-builder for a younger goalie.