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Bishop plays himself into Team USA consideration

Dec 21, 2013, 10:26 AM EDT

RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 01: Ben Bishop #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning makes a glove save during an NHL game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on November1, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

Going into the season it looked like there would be a fierce battle for the three goaltending spots on the United States’ Olympic team, but Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Ben Bishop wouldn’t be a major part of that competition.

At this point though, it wouldn’t be surprising if his name is called on Jan. 1 when Team USA makes their announcement. He might not have the most impressive resume, but among goalies born in the United States, he currently leads the pack with a 1.96 GAA and .934 save percentage in 26 starts.

“We have a goaltender that has won a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe award (Jonathan Quick), our 2010 Olympic goalie (Ryan Miller), and we have other goalies that are doing unbelievable this year, and that includes Ben Bishop,” Team USA GM David Poile said, according to the Tampa Tribune.

“So I’m sure we are going to be making decisions that are going to upset some people at the end of the day, but we are just trying to do the best we can.”

It seems all but certain that Miller will make the squad and Quick is also a safe bet even as he nurses a groin injury. However, with Jimmy Howard and Craig Anderson playing below expectations, Bishop’s biggest rival for that final spot might be Cory Schneider.

In the meantime, Bishop will continue to serve as Tampa Bay’s starting goaltender as they battle for the Atlantic Division title despite the loss of Steven Stamkos.

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