No U.S. goalies were selected for the NHL All-Star Game for the first time since 2004, but that shouldn’t significantly heighten concern for the PyeongChang Olympics (assuming the NHL participates).
The NHL All-Star rosters are here, including eight goalies (two per division).
Arguably the top three U.S. goalies are all out with significant injuries.
Jonathan Quick, who played the lion’s share of the minutes at the 2014 Olympics and 2016 World Cup of Hockey, suffered a groin injury in the Los Angeles Kings’ season opener on Oct. 12, hasn’t played since and is expected to be out at least another month.
Ben Bishop and Jimmy Howard suffered lower-body injuries in the same game Dec. 20 and haven’t played since.
Bishop, the U.S. No. 2 at the World Cup, was a Vezina Trophy finalist two of the last three seasons.
Howard, a 2014 Olympian, ranked in the top three in the league in goals-against average and save percentage for the first two months of the season.
However, healthy, primary U.S. goalies are not particularly excelling.
Among goalies with more than 20 games played this season, no Americans rank in the top 10 in the NHL in goals-against average or save percentage.
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Jonathan Quick wasn’t buying into the notion it was difficult for the U.S. to play today’s bronze medal game after a tough semifinal loss to Canada.
“It shouldn’t be too hard,” he said, per PHT’s Jason Brough. “We do that all year long. We’re professionals. We play back-to-backs all year long.
“There’s no reason we show up and not piss a drop.”
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Quick, brilliant against the Canadians on Friday in stopping 36 of 37 shots, was hung out to dry on a number of occasions against the Finns. Two goals in the third period came on the power play and the Americans failed to give their goalie any run support over the final two games of the tournament, going scoreless after racking up 20 goals in their first four contests.
Needless to say, Quick wasn’t happy — though he made it clear he wasn’t happy with his own effort, either.
“My job is to stop the puck, and I didn’t do that very well,” he said. “Team effort. We weren’t good.”
The United States and Finland are just coming off losses to big rivals, missing out on a chance at the gold-medal game in men’s ice hockey. They won’t have much time to lick their wounds, as they face each other for a spot on the podium on Saturday.
MEN’S HOCKEY – Bronze medal game
United States vs. Finland: 10 a.m. ET (NBCSN) – CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Both teams enjoyed their moments of offensive explosiveness in this tournament, yet when they met elite goalies in Sweden’s Henrik Lundqvist and Canada’s Carey Price, they hit a brick wall. Canada blanked the United States 1-0 while the Swedes locked down the Finns 2-1 in Friday semifinal games.
Whether it’s Kari Lehtonen or Tuukka Rask, Finland’s expected to have a strong goalie in net. In the case of Saturday, Rask appears healthy enough to play. The U.S. enjoyed some fantastic goaltending from Jonathan Quick in this tournament, so it’s quite possible that this could be another tight game.
Again, though, these two teams have also shown the ability to break things wide open … so we’ll just have to see. Phil Kessel has been a standout for the U.S. while Teemu Selanne is likely entering his final international game to wrap up his sixth Olympics.
The U.S. is going for its second bronze medal and 12th Olympic men’s hockey medal overall. Finland is shooting for a fourth bronze, which would give them six.