If there’s any position the United States needed to have as an emergency reserve, it’s goaltender. That’s what USA Hockey did today when Florida GM Dale Tallon, one of the members of the American selection committee, gave Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop a phone call Monday afternoon stating that if there is an injury to any of the three American goalies (Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quck, and Jimmy Howard) that he will be on the team in Sochi next month.
It could be possible that an injury could occur, as Quick and Howard are just now returning to their club lineups this week from injuries over the last month. Quick made his return Saturday in a 3-1 win over Vancouver. Howard returned to Detroit’s lineup December 30 at Nashville and looked very shaky and often out of position on a couple goals he allowed. He played better two days later at the Winter Classic vs Toronto, but again was off his line when he allowed the game winning goal in the shootout.
Bishop himself is battling injury, as he took an undisclosed upper-body injury during Sunday’s game in Edmonton. He will sit out tomorrow’s game in Winnipeg and is listed as Day-to-Day.
Tallon went on to tell Bishop that it was a close decision between he and Howard for the third goalie slot, but they went with Howard due to “his superior experience notably in the playoffs”.
Which it does stink for Bishop not to be named to the team as he leads all American netminders this season in wins (22), GAA (1.86) and save percentage (.935). But the selection committee selected players based on multiple seasons of work and experience in the playoffs.
Like Howard, Bishop has previously been on the US National Team. He played one period at the 2010 World Championship and five group stage games at the latest World Championship in Helsinki before giving way to John Gibson in the elimination rounds after losing the final group game 4-1 to Slovakia.