Miller or Quick: Who will Team USA Go With?
Six goaltenders were invited to Team USA’s selection camp including the likes of Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings), Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils), Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators) and John Gibson (Norfolk Admirals, Anaheim Ducks' farm team). These goaltenders were all worthy of an invitation and one of them should be able to be the team's third goaltender once the team is officially announced.
More than likely, however, the team’s starting goaltender will more than likely be one of the other two invitees, Buffalo Sabres' masked man Ryan Miller and Los Angeles Kings' star goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Team USA head coach Dan Bylsma will have to consider the following traits of both Miller and Quick before making a final decision sometime in February:
When Team USA won the Silver Medal in 2010 in Vancouver, they got an all-world performance from Miller.
He was stellar, going 5-0-1 with a 1.35 goals against average, a .946 save percentage and one shutout en route to being named the most valuable player and best goaltender of the tournament along with being named to the All-Star team.
Not only does Miller have a strong showing in the last Olympics to his name, but he brings a veteran presence to a young American defense that will need to have confidence in the netminder playing behind them. At 33 years of age, Miller has been through a lot in his hockey career and knows what it takes to be the most consistent player in a tournament style of play.
Lastly, almost the entire coaching staff coaching staff of Team USA (Bylsma, Tony Granato, Peter Laviolette and Todd Richards) has seen Miller in upwards of four times a year for the past few seasons. These coaches more than likely know what Miller brings to the table and know he is more than capable of stealing big games as he has done just that against the likes of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers over the last few years.
Like Miller, Quick has shown the hockey world that he has big-game ability. In 2012, he led the Los Angeles Kings to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history and won the Conn Smythe as the league’s most valuable player in the postseason by going 16-4 with a 1.41 goals against average, a .946 save percentage and three shutouts.
Quick is also extremely good in a tournament style of play. After winning the Cup in 2012, he showed that he is a great playoff goaltender in this year’s post-season as he went 9-9 with a 1.86 GAA, a .934 save percentage and three shutouts.
Groin injury aside, Quick fits what Team USA is looking to do in next year’s Olympics and that is go with youth and players that represent the future of USA Hockey. At 27 years of age, Quick is one of the best young players in the game today and deserves to show what he can do for his country; not just now, but well into the future.
Based on the above, it is apparent that come February, Bylsma will have a tough decision to make. No matter who Bylsma decides to go with, he cannot go wrong whether he puts Miller or Quick between the pipes.