Olympic Hockey: Team USA Faces Goaltending Question

Monday, December 30, 2013 @ 05:12 PM EDT - by Chris Blanchard -

Chris Blanchard is a Boston, MA native and a student at Davidson College. He began writing about hockey as a Boston Bruins featured columnist for Bleacher Report in the fall of 2012. He has been covering the NHL for XN Sports since May of 2013.

Chris Blanchard
Chris Blanchard

I don't think it's a regional issue considering the decision was made by David Poile (who is the GM in Nashville - one of the few places more invisible than Tampa in the hockey world). The choice, which i agree is a bad one, is about experience. Bishop is being penalized for never being the starter on a playoff team (something he will do this year). Howard and Quick both earned their spots last spring in the Western Conference semifinals playing against each other, and Ryan Miller won his four years ago. I think that leaving Bishop off the team shows a misunderstanding of how goaltending works at the most fundamental level. No position in professional sports is more dependent confidence and momentum. There is little doubt in my mind that Bishop is more deserving than Jimmy Howard right now. Perhaps there is something to the fact that Howard is an obvious backup in that group. He won't put pressure on the starter like Bishop would. Maybe Dan Bylsma wants to give his starter the comfort of knowing that he will go wire to wire no matter what. A soft game from Miller or Quick in the group stage could have opened the door for Bishop to steal the show, which might cause doubt in the mind of the starter leading to such a poor start. Howard won't do that. Now I think it's time to keep an eye on Finland. With Rask or Niemi in net they have the best goaltending in the tourney.


Team USA must seriously be smoking something to NOT include bishop. He has double the wins of the 2nd place American Goalie. His SV% and GAA are in the top three of ALL goalies, and he is the kind of person you want representing your country. But, as always, the NHL always sees Florida teams as second rate, and not worth serious consideration for anything. The powers that be need to wake up and start realizing hockey goes farther south than Wahington.



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