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Dealing from a ‘position of strength,’ Bylsma chooses Quick

Feb 12, 2014, 5:49 AM EDT

Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men AP

SOCHI, Russia — It would’ve been easy for Dan Bylsma to go with Ryan Miller.

The United States head coach could’ve compared the numbers: Miller’s .923 save percentage this season with the Buffalo Sabres, to Jonathan Quick’s .911 mark with the Los Angeles Kings.

He could’ve pointed to Miller’s outstanding play in the 2010 Vancouver Games that helped the Americans win a silver medal, or to Quick’s past few NHL games, which haven’t all gone well.

But Bylsma went with Quick, announcing his decision Wednesday afternoon following practice, the day before the U.S. will open its Olympic tournament versus Slovakia.

“We’re dealing with a position of strength when it comes to the goaltender, and the goaltender decision,” said Bylsma.

“Jonathan’s won a championship with his team, won a Stanley Cup. Certainly Ryan this year has played very well for his team as well, so it’s been dealing from where we have two very good guys to be in net. Jonathan will be getting the nod.”

And what about Saturday versus Russia?

“We have plans for game one.”

How did Miller take the news?

“We had a conversation. He said, ‘I’m ready when you call on me.’”

Miller was understandably disappointed, but also supportive of Quick.

“Obviously I want to play and compete and be here and do my part,” said Miller. “I think he’s a great goalie and he’s going to do great for us. You know, see where it goes from here, and just be ready to go.”

As for Quick, the 2012 playoff MVP said his job now is to give his team a chance to win.

“I believe it’s just for tomorrow’s game, so I’m just keeping focused on what we have to do to win tomorrow’s game,” he said. “Obviously in a short tournament, you want to try to make the most of every time you’re on the ice, whether it’s practice or a game.”

Slovakia won’t be an easy out for the Americans, and in a way that may actually be a good thing for Bylsma, who will want to get as good a handle as possible on Quick’s play before Saturday’s showcase game of the preliminary round against the tournament hosts.

  1. patshal - Feb 12, 2014 at 6:51 AM

    He chose Quick because of success in his past. He said he picked him because he had won a Stanley Cup. You have to look at him today not a few years ago. Miller would’ve been the right choice. He’s doing better today due to his goals against average.

    • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM

      maybe you can’t read. he was simply saying both have the merits to start. he made the decision to go with Quick because he’s the coach of the team and he’s around the team and he’s watching practice and talking to these guys. maybe he ends up with Miller in a couple games. besides, you make my point for me. you would pick your goalie based on one stat in a half a season.

      amazing how people think they know they best choice in matters like this from halfway around the world sitting at their computer.

    • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      besides im not sure what “due to his goals against average” means. his GAA is 2.74, quick’s is 2.18

      • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:13 PM

        lol i got thumbed down for making a factual stat correction.

        welcome to the internet, folks.

  2. LampyB - Feb 12, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    Thanks captain obvious.

    Quick is a better goalie, lately his team went on a major scoring drought in which he had no chance to win. He’s a rock and will certainly hold it down.

    Miller has played well but hes absolutely not used to winning, buffalo is god awful. Bylsma prob got it right.

    • buddysguys - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:10 AM

      not used to winnging? what does that even mean?

      • jimeejohnson - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        It means he doesn’t know theet about Buffalo; they got more wings (with Buffalo sauce) than anywhere!

      • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        it means he hasn’t won a whole lot in the past few years and that does mean something.

        quick is fresh off a stanley cup and a conference final playoff run. thats a lot of winning. winning breeds confidence and experience in coming out on the right side of tight games.

      • buddysguys - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        fresh off a Cup? 2 years ago is still Fresh?

      • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:15 PM

        lol well when you read my whole sentence “stanley cup and conference finals” as in back to back, as in what happened the last two times the NHL was in the playoffs…

        not sure how much fresher you get.

    • cantescapekarma - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      2013-14 Season
      Miller 14-22-3, 2.74, .923
      Quick 16-13-2, 2.18, .911

      Last 10 games
      Miller 4-4-2, 2.84, .912
      Quick 2-7-1, 2.46, .898

      Quick has 2 more wins this season, on a much much better team…

      • buddysguys - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        but the Quick supporters will tell you its becuase his team went on a scoring drought….Millers team has been on a scoring dorught since game 1.

        I by no means am against Quick he is very good but the logic on him starting is very flawed.

  3. kastout11 - Feb 12, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    Clearly, Quick is the better goalie at this stage in their careers. He has also played in a lot more pressure games since the 2010. They have been in the playoffs the last few wins, going deep one year and winning the cup another year. As long as he is healthy, I agree with the choice of Quick, if not, Miller is a capable backup.

  4. wtfkwp - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    Look at all these butthurt ECBs!

    • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:02 PM

      yeah, amazing how many people are tore up because of this. can’t even wait to watch the first game to start whining.

  5. vbcaps - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    Can you honestly go wrong with miller or quick? If I had a top 5 goalies list in the world, both are on it.

    I can’t wait for that Russia vs USA game

  6. sjsblitz - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    There’s a difference between a great goalie w/ a bad defense vs an ok goalie w/ an amazing defense. Not saying its the wrong call, but I would’ve gone with Miller

    • cybernetikghost - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:08 PM

      What you are saying, though, is that quick is just an ok goalie…. C’mon now….

      • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:17 PM

        people have gone berserk.

  7. drewsylvania - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    Another microanalyzed situation to which the response should be “meh”.

  8. narfmoo12 - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    Miller was the better choice. Quick, while very good, is a product of his team’s defense.

    Martin Jones: 1.71/.940
    Ben Scrivens: 1.97/.931
    Jonathan Quick: 2.18/.911

    • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:04 PM

      yeah just like marty broduer right.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:17 PM

        Did Brodeur get outplayed by multiple goalies on his own team? No.

        How about last year?
        Bernier 1.87/.922
        Quick 2.45/.902

        Try bringing some stats or facts to the table instead of just being a typical troll.

      • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        a typical troll? really? first of all, i was pointing out that its not the first time people have said a goalie is good because of his team’s defense.

        heres a fact; jonathon quick has a conn smythe trophy.

        im not sure how you come to the conclusion Quick was being “outplayed”.

      • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        by the way thanks for the 14 game sample.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        I’m so glad Quick winning the Conn Smythe 2 years ago means he hasn’t been outplayed by his backups the last two seasons. That’s pure brilliance!

        Based on your troll logic, Tim Thomas should be the starter as he won the Conn Smythe in 2011 AND trumps Quick with two Vezina trophies.

      • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:07 PM

        yeah except he’s old is average this year coming off a semi-retirement and is unstable as a character. why would you pick him?

        really wish you’d stop using the word troll, its annoying. not sure why your so hard on for proving me wrong. i never thought somebody would be so pissed i thought that jonathan quick was the best american goaltender to play in this tournament.

      • c9castine - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:38 PM

        what do you have to say for yourself now

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        Also, you used Giroux’s first month of the season (also a small sample) coming off an injury as a reason to keep him off of Team Canada, ignoring the fact that he’s scored the 2nd most points in the NHL since the last Olympics, is more than a point per game player the last 3 years, has the most third period points in the NHL this season, and by the way, is third among active players in playoff points per game. But continue being a snarky troll who brings nothing to the table.

  9. cybernetikghost - Feb 12, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    It’s really not that big of a deal. It’s between a good goalie and a better goalie. For the people to say that quick had it easier because he had a better defense than miller, refer to he highlight reel. He didn’t win the vezina by accident.

    • c9castine - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      i thought more people would be excited about this guy. I’ve been excited about quick since he first started playing he to me is the first top shelf talented goalie the americans have had in a long time If ever.

    • cybernetikghost - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      I totally meant conn scythe too. He didn’t win the vezina haha surprised no one called me out on that

      • cybernetikghost - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:56 PM

        Smythe goddamned auto correct

  10. budzo83 - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    I think it was a toss-up, but I would have gone with Miller. Because he has been playing well behind a bad team and his contract situation is still up in the air, he has played with a chip on his shoulder and seems more motivated than Quick at this point. Still, I can’t hate on Bylsma for this decision.

  11. sjsharks66 - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Quick is backed up by what I think is the best defensive team in the league. Second would he St.Louis. Miller is backed up by….well…you know the answer to that. The fact that miller has a good sv% with what he has to work with is impressive.
    Look at the East, all the high scoring players go against Miller. In the West, not so much.
    Either player chosen will be good, I would have started with Miller personally.

    • cybernetikghost - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:01 PM

      The west is way harder than the east. They may have a handful of the top players but the west has the most teams with scoring across all 4 lines. To say that miller has to go up against tougher teams is just false. In the pacific division alone, quick has it worse by a mile.

  12. thomasvanek - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    This is the only game that I hope team USA gets blown out so that Bylsma can realize his mistake, it will be more beneficial for the team to lose this one in the long run.

    • cybernetikghost - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:04 PM

      Team USA doesn’t have to lose for quick to play badly and open the door for Bylsma to send in Miller I don’t get how it’s possible to be so unpatriotic during the Olympics…. How about “I hope Bylsma was right and Quick plays well.”

      • thomasvanek - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:21 PM

        How is it unpatriotic? I think that if we lose this game we have a better chance at winning the whole thing.

  13. opattytheirishrover - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    “Narfmoo”, while it is true that Bernier had better statistics last year…the small sample size makes your numbers almost irrelevant.

    “How about last year”

    Bernier-13 games

    How about instead of calling people trolls and telling them to look “up facts or stats”, how about you use common sense while looking up your precious “facts and stats” and make more friends instead of calling names!

    That being said, I love your enthusiasm for the position and wish we were rooting for USA together at the pub!


    • narfmoo12 - Feb 12, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      While that is a small scale, Bernier’s numbers were so much better than Quick’s. This year Jones and Scrivens have played the same number of games as Quick with much better numbers and twice as many shutouts (6 to 3). … Also, c9castine is a complete troll who routinely ignores stats and thinks that yelling the same thing over and over wins an argument.

  14. opattytheirishrover - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    The use of the word “snarky” has me in your corner at this time. Good showing.

  15. westsidewilly - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Pens routed Miller and the Sabres a week or so ago. If that was the last memory Bylsma had of Miller . . . no wonder he went with Quick.


    • cybernetikghost - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      Pens rocked the kings when he was here too haha quick is just a better goalie. Miller is the isht though

  16. qauzaq - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Stats don’t do Quick justice. You gotta watch him play to see all the clutch things he does and to know he gives his team a chance to win every night. I think all of us fellow Americans will be more than pleased with Quickie in net very shortly… USA USA USA

    • cybernetikghost - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      That’s it exactly. People who are bringing up stats are only doing so because they haven’t been watching and want to size him up, but he is a guy that can play high pressure and be that clutch guy that steals games. He isn’t perfect and his stats have skid but he IS the better goalie. If people want him to fail, it’s just because they don’t like him or the team he plays for and a solid performance in this first game isn’t going to change a thing for people with that kind of mentality.

      • narfmoo12 - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:45 PM

        How dare people use stats to rate how well a player is playing! The only time you don’t use stats is when you are wrong and want to keep arguing your point. Quick is 16-13-2 while Jones/Scrivens were 15-9-4. Quick’s backups have MUCH better combined GAA/Save% than Quick, with the backups playing 32 games and Quick playing 32 games this year. So please enlighten me as to how the stats of goalies on the same team don’t matter.

        By the way, I don’t want the team to lose, I just think they made the wrong choice. I would rather have the guy with a better save percentage on a terrible team than the goalie with a great defense who has been outplayed by everyone else they’ve thrown into the net.

  17. tcclark - Feb 12, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    I love Jonathan Quick, but this is a risky move. We all know that LA not only has a great defense, but a defensive system that makes a goalie’s job a little easier. It’s a risky move grabbing a goalie from that type of system and putting him in a high pressure situation; just ask the Flyers. Obviously Quick is a better goalie than Ilya Bryzgalov, Bryz was a Vezina trophy finalist before going to Philadelphia and now they’re paying him over a million per year for the next ten years to NOT play for them. You don’t see Canada throwing Mike Smith out there.

    I just think Miller was a safer, and better pick. He’s playing better on a worse team, and was the MVP of the tournament in 2010. Quick can catch lightning in a bottle and win this tournament by himself, but he’s a pretty big risk as well.

  18. skr213 - Feb 12, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he did this to give Ryan some rest and give Quick a shot to prove himself. I don’t think he’s so stupid that he doesn’t recognize that Miller is a much better goalie at the moment.

  19. janoon2013 - Feb 12, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    Quick starts the first game against a lesser opponent, while Miller will be in the net when we play Russia! This is a preliminary game, and a good one to see what Quick can do! Miller has proved himself on a terrible defensive team with scoring issues (least goals in the NHL). Playing Quick first does not mean that he is the No. 1 goalie, but it does make sense to put in Miller against a strong Russian team! Let’s watch some hockey!

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