Team USA is less than 48 hours away from their first Olympic game in Sochi and they still have yet to name a netminder. The competition is between Stanley Cup winning netminder Jonathan Quick and 2010 Olympic MVP Ryan Miller. In all honesty, it’s a great situation for the US mens hockey team to have, no matter who you start you know there’s a capable guy ready to step up when called upon.
While Dan Bylsma the head coach of team USA has yet to publicly announce his starter nor his plans for the netminders, he has already made up his mind on who will be the guy between the pipes. He has yet to tell Miller or Quick his decisions, but he hinted at who has the upper hand to the media today.
“We’ve had a goalie play real well all year long, and we’ve had two goalies that have had injuries that have come back in the last month or so. You might have some ideas in the summertime. This year, we let it play out.” ~ Coach Dan Bylsma- quote from Twin Cities
Ryan Miller has had the benefit of staying healthy on the worst team in the league while Jonathan Quick has missed 24
games behind one of the best teams in the league. In a tournament like the Olympics, having a guy who is healthy and delivers night after night is a necessity. When it comes to health Ryan Miller has the upper hand.
“We’ve seen all our goalies play really well, and we’ve seen Ryan play the whole year and do very, very well on a team that’s struggling.” ~ Coach Dan Bylsma
Say all you want about Ryan Miller’s numbers and his inability to deliver, but what he’s been able to do for the Buffalo Sabres over the last 12 seasons and how well he’s playing in this poor season has earned him a ton of respect around the league. Team USA GM Brian Burke referenced Miller’s strong play despite having one of the worst goaltending jobs in the league and again Bylsma referenced it when deciding on his starter.
There are very few goaltenders who could play at the level Miller has on such a horrible team consistently and that has earned Miller a lot of respect and might just help Tim Murray and the Buffalo Sabres come trade deadline day.
With Miller you know you’re going to get an honest effort, there is only one Ryan Miller and that’s the guy from Vancouver 2010. With Jonathan Quick you don’t know which Quick will show up; the guy who won his team a Stanley Cup or the guy who’s been struggling this season?
Miller is focused on getting back to the gold medal match and bringing home the gold which escaped him in 2010 and it appears Dan Bylsma is going to ride Ryan Miller to the gold medal.