The U.S. Men’s Olympic hockey team appeared to have a blessing of riches in goal heading into this season. But as December approaches, “a good problem to have" has turned into a genuine conundrum thanks to some middling performances and unforeseen candidates emerging.
According to the NY Times, U.S. Olympic team GM David Poile of the Nashville Predators and his staff have narrowed the field to six goalies for the Olympic roster: Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings, Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils, Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings and Tim Thomas of the Florida Panthers.
Yes … Tim Thomas, as Poile either has a wicked sense of humor or is oblivious as to where in Washington, DC this team would be celebrated should it win gold.
Like Miller, Thomas has been quite good behind a bad team, and has expressed a desire to represent the U.S. as he did in Vancouver. Said Poile recently, when asked about Thomas:
“We didn't know Timmy's situation then but he's in the program and if he's one of the best three goalies, he's going to Sochi.''
One goalie that doesn’t appear in the running for that top three any longer: Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators. He participated in USA Hockey Olympic orientation camp in August, but he’s had a subpar season with the struggling Sens, posting a 3.31 GAA and a .900 save percentage in 15 games. Poile left him out of his top six.
If we had to guess, it would be Quick, Miller and Howard making the cut, but don’t sleep on Bishop, who’s arguably been better than both this season.