Olympics, Winter

Team USA and Team Canada have similar goaltending situations

2/14/14 in Olympics, Winter   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Feb 13, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; USA goalie Jonathan Quick (32) and defenseman Ryan Suter (20) look up at the puck against Slovakia in a men's ice hockey preliminary round game during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Shayba Arena. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY SportsIf you're a hockey fan, than there is no doubt that you do not envy the task of both Team USA head coach Dan Bylsma and Team Canada head coach Mike Babcock when it comes to selecting their number one goaltender.

At the last two Winter Olympic Games in Turin and Vancouver, respectively, goaltending had a big impact when it came to teams going to the medal round and even winning the Gold Medal. In 2006, it was New York Rangers' goaltender Henrik Lundqvist of Team Sweden that did his country proud and helped his country win their first Gold Medal since 1994.

Fast forward to 2010 and Buffalo Sabres' goaltender Ryan Miller of Team USA almost had the same result that Lundqvist did. Miller was the best goaltender in the tournament and came within an overtime goal of leading Team USA to their first Gold Medal since 1980.

Goaltending is going to play a huge role in these Olympic Games in Sochi. In order for Team Canada and Team USA to win a medal, the coaching staff is going to have to make a very difficult decision when it comes to who will be the man between the pipes to lead them to the promised land of international hockey.

Team Canada
For Team Canada, Babcock is going to have to choose between the guy who helped win them the Gold in 2010, Vancouver Canucks' masked man Roberto Luongo, and the guy who is the better goaltender right now, Montreal Canadiens' goaltender Carey Price. Babcock is going to have to be careful considering so much is at stake here.

On the one hand, Luongo, who will start Team Canada's next game against Austria, more than got the job done when Team Canada won Gold four years ago. He took over for a struggling Martin Brodeur and when Sidney Crosby scored the "Golden goal", it was Luongo who was between the pipes.

With that said, however, it can be said that Price is ready to lead Canada to the Gold now. Not only did he help his country defeat Norway today 3-1 by stopping of 19-20 shots, but he came into these games as one of the
hottest netminders in the league.

Should Luongo win tomorrow afternoon, it will be interesting to see which direction Babcock will go in when it comes to his top two goaltenders.

Team USA
Four years ago in Vancouver, Miller was brilliant between the pipes for his country as he was the top goaltender in the tournament, was named to the Olympic All-Star Team, and came away with the Silver Medal.

Fast forward to now and Miller is still one of the best goaltenders in the game. The question, however, is whether or not he is better than Jonathan Quick.

Quick was between the pipes today when his country beat Slovakia 7-1. Quick stopped 22 of 23 shots and while that is not that many, he still managed to make some high quality saves when Slovakia did get some scoring opportunities.

Bylsma was hesitant to anoint Quick or Miller the starting goaltender for this tournament so it will be interesting to see who he decides to go with when things start to really ramp up in the tournament.

No Easy Choice
Basically put, both Babcock and Bylsma are in a tough position when it comes to selecting their main guy in net.

Not only will whoever they select help determine how far they go in these Olympics, but they will also determine whether or not they are standing at the podium when all is said and done.

Certainly not an enviable position if you ask me.
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2/15/14   |   kteacher   |   34390 respect

The_Real_Stoney wrote:
It's an odd situation. I wouldn't trust Carey Price in a pressure situation and I think he is still living off his still unrealized potential rather than reality, he didn't look great against Norway, and I think the job is really Bobby Lu's to lose right now as long as he doesn't self destruct against Austria.
As for the Americans, my choice would be Miller. I like Quick, but I think Miller is better and he's been here before. If he wasn't on the worst NHL team we've seen in a decade, I don't think the debate would be this hot

OR........if Miller played on a more dominant team (puck possession team) like the Kings, he may be the opposite of what he is on a "not so good" team. 

(Wasn't this said about Luongo when he played for the Panthers?)

2/15/14   |   Scott   |   53586 respect

Countries like Norway, Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia are much match ups against Canada or the US.  When the knockout round begins, then I believe you'll see both Price and Quick.  Price is better then Luongo and although Miller may have more Olympic experience, Quick has been a stud in the Stanley Cup playoffs the last two seasons.  I'll take my chances

2/14/14   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

I believe Carey Price is going to discover just how well he CAN play in these Olympics.  I just don't have faith in Luongo.  When he's good, he's very, very good, but if he is just a little off, he's horrible. Besides, I hate the Canucks.
As far as the US goalies go, I'm with Becky in the entertainment factor.  I'm more worried about Quick than I am about Miller, although that may be because the Kings just skkkrrrrr me.

2/14/14   |   The_Real_Stoney   |   25291 respect

It's an odd situation. I wouldn't trust Carey Price in a pressure situation and I think he is still living off his still unrealized potential rather than reality, he didn't look great against Norway, and I think the job is really Bobby Lu's to lose right now as long as he doesn't self destruct against Austria.
As for the Americans, my choice would be Miller. I like Quick, but I think Miller is better and he's been here before. If he wasn't on the worst NHL team we've seen in a decade, I don't think the debate would be this hot

2/14/14   |   kteacher   |   34390 respect

The best thing about the Miller vs. Quick debate are the Twitter reactions. As a huge Quick fan, these reactions amuse me greatly.  laugh