Looks as though Team USA's criteria for Olympic goaltenders is clear: overall body of work, not 'What have you done for me lately?'
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reported earlier this evening that Team USA's goaltenders will be Jonathan Quick, Ryan Miller and Jimmy Howard.
All three are solid choices, none very surprising, but debate will certainly emerge when considering the exceptional season of Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop.
On paper, Bishop probably couldn't have done more to better his chances of making the team. He's posted superb numbers this year: a record of 20-5-3, a save percentage of .935 and a goals-against average of 1.89 to go along with three shutouts. He's guided Tampa to second place in the Atlantic without Steven Stamkos in the lineup. Considering Tampa's suspect record of defensive play the past handful of years, it's easy to heap praise on the 6-foot-7 stopper for the Lightning's turnaround. If Bishop had a couple more NHL seasons under his belt, he surely would have made the decision more difficult for Team USA.
Still, it's difficult to fault Team USA GM David Poile for the selection of stoppers he'll send to Sochi. All three have extensive playoff experience and are established names. Quick still belongs in the conversation of best goaltender in hockey, Miller has been steller in front of a pathetic Sabres team in the midst of a rebuild, and Howard put together back-to-back seasons of stellar play before struggling with injuries in 2013-14.
When comparing the three netminders at their best, the decided edge goes to Jonathan Quick. His performance in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs was masterful. Quick posted a save percentage of .946, tied for the best in playoff history with J-S Giguere's 2003 run. Quick led the eighth seed Kings to a 16-4 playoff record en route to winning the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Goaltending guru Kevin Woodley of InGoal Magazine had this to say: