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Bylsma won’t name starter vs. Russia

Feb 13, 2014, 12:35 PM EDT

USA goaltender Jonathan Quick dives on the puck during the second period of the game against Slovakia during the 2014 Winter Olympics men's ice hockey tournament at Shayba Arena, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) AP

United States coach Dan Bylsma could have simply gone with 2010 Olympic hero and Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller for the team’s tournament opener against Slovakia on Thursday, but instead he picked Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick, who had a strong showing in America’s 7-1 victory.

After the contest, Bylsma left us all wondering what his next move would be by refusing to name his starting goaltender for Saturday’s match against Russia, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott.

Russia’s offense is leagues above what the Americans faced today, but Quick has earned the right to play against them. In addition to his solid performance against Slovakia, his resume is more than impressive enough. After all, he’s a Conn Smythe Trophy winner with a career 2.03 GAA and .929 save percentage in 50 NHL playoff contests.

At the same time, Miller is one of the main reasons America won the silver medal in 2010. He’s just as good a goaltender four years later, even if the Buffalo Sabres team in front of him has gotten significantly weaker.

If nothing else, this is a great problem for the United States to have.

  1. greej1938l - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    I say you stick with Quick. Hope he gets and stays hot

  2. qauzaq - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Id love to see Quick play again but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miller in net sat. If nothing else, it is at least a sign of respect to Miller and his performance last time around. That being said I feel Quick is the best choice for the majority of the games going forward.

  3. nightfireop - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    as a kings fan, i’m surprised he kept his knight’s helmet painting instead of a star spangled design.
    to each his own i guess :)

  4. guitarhunterdude - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    I’d stick with Quick. Miller’s still good, but he’s not the same goalie he was in 2010. Quick’s not really that great during the regular NHL season, but for the last three years has been absolutely unconscious in the playoffs. I don’t usually put much stock into guys “turning it on” under pressure (usually, the concept of “clutch” is a myth), but I feel Quick is one of the rare guys who truly does thrive under the pressure you find in a playoff environment. This tournament is exactly that sort of environment, and after today, I don’t know how you go to Miller unless Quick absolutely sucks in practice.

  5. pmonte3122 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    He’s not the same goalie? Get your eyes checked. He’s playing better than he was in 2010. How would I know this? Watching him play in almost all of his games. You have to remember he’s on the worst teM in the league. And the fact that he has better numbers than quick who is on a much better team should say something.

    • guitarhunterdude - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:46 PM

      He’s consistently been bottom-half in 5v5 sv% for the last few years. He’s played for some bad teams, yes, but team defense/shots given up doesn’t affect sv% nearly as much as you think. It means his GAA will be higher, yes, but his sv% will stay the same with pretty much any defensive system (it’ll take the same number of shots on goal to score on him, no matter how good the defense). I’ve watched Miller some this year, and he’s still good. He’s got good positioning, good rebound control, he’s still an above-average goalie overall. But the decline has started.

      • guitarhunterdude - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        If you’re looking for the stats themselves:

        5v5 sv%
        2010-2011: 92.65% (22nd in the NHL)
        2011-2012: 92.61% (18th in the NHL)
        2012-2013: 92.44% (22nd in the NHL)
        2013-2014: 92.37% (28th in the NHL)

        So, not bottom half consistently; I was wrong there. But certainly below average for a starter (though I am willing to concede some of that to the defense he’s playing behind), and with Quick’s recent play in the the last few playoffs and the good game he just had, I don’t see how you go with Miller over Quick.

  6. hockeyflow33 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    Quick – 1 Stanley Cup, 1 Vezina
    Miller – 0 Stanley Cups, 0 Vezinas

    I’d stay with Qunick until he gives a reason not to.

    • elemeno89 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      Miller has a Vezina dude. Look at the 09-10 year. Also Miller has a Silver Medal.

      • hockeyflow33 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        Oops, I meant Conn Smythe.

    • tarotsujimoto74 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:57 PM

      Quick has no Vezina

      • hockeyflow33 - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:43 PM

        I know, I mistyped and meant Conn Smythe

  7. hky187 - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    stick with quick for Russia. miller for Slovenia. that goal on quick should have never counted as Tatar was about 4 feet offsides. let’s just hope the refs don’t blow it for USA

  8. aldog83 - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Stick with Quick.

    If he falters…

    Bring in Miller.

    If Miller is the answer than the USA can
    ride Miller the GOLD Medal.

    I dont like the idea of flip flopping.

    Just figure it out before the Medal Round.

    GO USA GO!


  9. itswhereyourmindsat - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Quick deserves to play the entire olympics. Ryan Miller blows

    • janoon2013 - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:23 AM

      So does your comment!

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