The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are less than two weeks away, and I must say, those Team USA goalies are going to be nearly impossible to beat in a one game elimination.
Team USA selected Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, and Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings to man the blue paint in Sochi. The Americans are so deep between the pipes they had omit mid-season Vezina candidate, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, and New Jersey Devils star Cory Schneider from the final roster. It’s a good problem to have, one that most other nations are jealous of.
Olympic hockey teams don’t make a habit of announcing starting goaltenders prior to the Games, but most speculate that in Sochi, it will be either Miller or Quick playing goal for the majority of the hockey tournament. Who do you start? Does it even matter?
You can’t go wrong if your goaltending options are Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick.
Miller backstopped the Americans to a closely contested gold medal game four years ago in Vancouver. Team USA lost in overtime; Miller was named tournament MVP. Despite playing on the lowly Buffalo Sabres this season, some believe Ryan Miller is in the running for the Vezina; he has been brilliant in Buffalo.
Quick: he’s a Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smythe winner. The Kings’ starting netminder has a knack for completely shutting the door in tight-checking elimination games. Pressure doesn’t really phase Quick whose career playoff save percentage is an impressive .929, and goals against average in the postseason is equally impressive at 2.03. Jonathan Quick has recorded a total of 6 shutouts in his last two playoff runs, both of which endured three or more rounds.
Scoring against Team USA goalies in Sochi will be a daunting task because either Miller or Quick will be nearly unbeatable. Where the Americans may slightly lack in big name forwards and elite defencemen, they make up all that ground in the cage, where it matters most.
Following the January 7 announcement of Team Canada’s Olympic hockey team there was a lot of talk that Canada could’ve easily sent two teams to Sochi because of extreme player depth. Well, Team USA could certainly send two goaltending units to Sochi: Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, Jimmy Howard, Ben Bishop, Cory Schneider, Tim Thomas and Craig Anderson. But you only need three to form a roster, and you only need one good one to win a gold medal.
Miller or Quick: you may as well flip a gold coin because either is capable of stealing the show in Sochi.