The U.S. men’s hockey team has announced its captain for the Sochi Olympics, but head coach Dan Bylsma hasn’t given any clarity as to who the Americans will have as their starting goaltender.
It’s expected to be one of three guys: Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, and Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings. But which of them will get the nod when the U.S. begins its slate of round-robin games on Feb. 13 against Slovakia?
“That’s not a question I’m ready to answer for right now,” Bylsma said to reporters today in a media teleconference. “Whether I know it or not, you’re not going to find out today.”
Bylsma visited with Quick after he allowed three goals on only seven shots and was yanked 20 minutes into a 4-1 loss to Bylsma’s Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. Quick has lost five of his last six starts, but up to his poor showing against the Pens, that had been primarily put down to the Kings’ lack of scoring.
Miller, like Quick, has done relatively well despite not having much goal support. On Thursday, he stopped 38 shots in a 3-2 Sabres win over Phoenix and despite a 14-20-3 record, he still carries a .927 save percentage. Then there’s Howard, who is expected to return to the ice for the Red Wings tonight after a four-game absence due to a knee injury.
If history is an indication, the U.S. is likely to go ahead with multiple goalies throughout the Olympics, as they’ve done in every Olympics since 1980. Bylsma did note today that he didn’t philosophically believe in ideally sticking with one goalie for an entire tournament.
The closest they’ve come to using a sole goalie during that period was at Nagano in 1998, when John Vanbiesbrouck came in for a 49-second stint during the Americans’ quarterfinal loss to the Czech Republic.
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Figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are Canada’s flag bearers for the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9.
It’s the first time Canada will have multiple flag bearers at an Opening Ceremony.
Virtue and Moir won ice dance gold at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and silver in Sochi in 2014.
After a two-year break, they went undefeated last season and won their third world championship.
They lost for the first time in their comeback at last month’s Grand Prix Final to French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.
Canada finished in the top three in the total medal standings at the last three Winter Olympics, including topping the gold-medal standings at the 2010 Vancouver Games with a record 14.
Recent Canadian Winter Olympic flag bearers
2014 Opening: Hayley Wickenheiser, Hockey
2014 Closing: Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse, Bobsled
2010 Opening: Clara Hughes, Speed Skating
2010 Closing: Joannie Rochette, Figure Skating
2006 Opening: Danielle Goyette, Hockey
2006 Closing: Cindy Klassen, Speed Skating
2002 Opening: Catriona Le May Doan, Speed Skating
2002 Closing: Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, Figure Skating
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. will cover Super Bowl LII and the PyeongChang Olympics as a contributor for NBC.
Earnhardt will spend the first weekend in February covering the outdoor activities in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl Pre-Game Show (NBC, Feb. 4).
Then he will travel to South Korea for the Winter Games.
From NBC Sports PR:
“Earnhardt will travel to PyeongChang, where he will explore the culture, people, and traditions in South Korea, and experience Olympic competitions first hand. Earnhardt will visit the speed skating venue at Gangneung Ice Arena, and through the lens of a racer will view the speed, close contact, and tight turns on the short track speed skating oval, which so closely mirror Earnhardt’s racing days and nights at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Following a recent invite on social media from his new friends on the U.S. bobsled team, including U.S. bobsled team pilot Nick Cunningham, Earnhardt will also travel to Alpensia Sliding Center, where he will test the true speed of the bobsled track and live out his post-retirement dream of riding in an Olympic bobsled.”
Earnhardt, 43, retired last year after 19 NASCAR seasons, which included Daytona 500 wins in 2004 and 2014.
He is now a NASCAR on NBC analyst.
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