Team USA, Men's Hockey: The Goaltenders
Team USA will look to rebound from a disappointing eighth place finish in the ’06 Olympics and they will have quality backstops to help them.
Ryan Miller, Tim Thomas, and Jonathan Quick are a strong trio representing their country between the pipes. Each goalie brings their own skills along with a mix of youth and veteran leadership. They will need to be on top of their games for Team USA to have a strong showing in Vancouver.
Current Team: Buffalo Sabres
The native of East Lansing, Michigan, attended Michigan State where he captured the Hobey Baker award in ’01 (only the second goalie to win the award) and set an NCAA record for most shutouts in a career with 26. Miller was property of the Buffalo Sabres since being taken by them in the fifth round of the 1995 NHL draft.
Miller went on to the American Hockey League where he played for the Rochester Americans. He went back and forth between Rochester and Buffalo before establishing himself as a NHL goaltender during the ’05-’06 season. Miller won 30 out of 48 games backstopping the Sabres to the Eastern Conference Finals against Carolina. Buffalo would fall short losing in seven games.
The ’06-’07 season would prove to be one of Miller’s finest. He won 40 games with a 2.73 GAA. The Sabres would reach the Eastern Conference Finals for a second straight year before falling short against Ottawa.
During the ’07-’08 season, Ryan Miller proved to be a genuine iron man between the pipes. He broke Dominik Hasek’s franchise record for most starts in a season with 76. His record was 37-26-10 with a 2.64 GAA. However, it was not good enough to get his team in the postseason.
The Sabres missed the playoffs again in ’08-’09 despite Miller posting over 30 wins again. This season (as of 2/4/10) Miller has 29 wins and a 2.12 GAA as Buffalo sits on top of the Northeast Division.
Ryan Miller will probably get the nod as the starter for Team USA due to his superior play this season. Thomas and Quick will share back up duties.
Current Team: Boston Bruins
Tim Thomas, a native of Flint, Michigan, was originally drafted in 1994 by the Quebec Nordiques after graduating from the University of Vermont. He spent the early stages of his career playing in the minor leagues and in Europe.
In 2006-2007, Thomas took over the starting job posting a 30-29 record with a 3.13 GAA. Thomas has become a fixture between the pipes ever since. In the '07-'08 season, he recorded a 28-19-6 record with a 2.44 GAA and helped the Bruins return to the playoffs.
Thomas had his best career season in 2008-2009, when he posted a 36-11-7 record with a league low 2.10 GAA. His play catapulted the Bruins to the top of the Eastern Conference and to their first playoff series win in almost a decade (he went 7-4 in the playoffs with a microscopic 1.85 GAA).
Thomas has been struggling as of late as have the Boston Bruins as whole. This season (as of 2/4/10), he has a record 13-15-7 with a respectable 2.52 GAA.
Team USA will probably ride the hot hand of Ryan Miller in the Olympics. Thomas will serve as an experienced and valuable backup when called upon.
Current Team: Los Angeles Kings
Jonathan Quick, a native of Hamden Connecticut, attended UMASS-Amherst to play collegiate hockey. He led the Minutemen to their first ever Men's Hockey National Championship tournament berth. Quick left after his sophomore season to play for the Los Angeles Kings farm system (he was chosen 72nd overall in the ’05 NHL draft).
After a few stints with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL, Jonathan Quick made the plunge into the NHL during the ’07-’08 season when he appeared in three games going 1-2. The following season, Quick received more playing time with the Kings and made the most of it. During the ’08-09 campaign he recorded 21 wins in 44 games played with a 2.48 GAA. He led the Kings back to the playoffs.
This season (as of 2/14/10), the Kings young netminder is having a stellar season. In 51 games thus far, he has 32 victories with a goals against average of 2.51. Currently, the Kings are in thick of the playoff picture in the Western Conference and a lot of that has to be attributed to Quick’s play.
Jonathan Quick should be able to spell the older goalies if need be. Still being quite inexperienced, Quick won’t see too much playing time in Vancouver.
Here's a preview of the forwards, written by Frank Castaldi. click here.
And for the defensemen, written by Ash Marshall, click here.