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Men’s Olympic Hockey Goalies – Who’s in and Who’s Out

Here in Canada there has been as much talk about who didn’t get picked for the Olympic Team as who did. The one position where there wasn’t much debate though was in goal. Brodeur, Luongo and Fleury were the top three for virtually every pundit.

So it might be tough to pen an article on who didn’t get picked for Canada, but if you look down the Olympic rosters it does get more interesting. Here’s our rundown of the Olympic Goalies for each of the countries competing in the men’s tournament. We’ve highlighted a few of the goalies who might have deserved a look.

What do you think of the choices? Should anyone have been picked that wasn’t?

USA

Ryan Miller: The USA will be relying on the hottest goalie from the first half of the NHL season to bring them a medal

Ryan Miller17.07.1980Buffalo Sabres
Tim Thomas15.04.1974Boston Bruins
Jonathan Quick21.01.1986Los Angeles Kings

Ryan Miller has led the league in GAA and Save % for most of the year and Thomas is the reigning Vezina Trophy holder so the top spots were an easy decision for Brian Burke.

Jonathan Quick has established himself at a bona fide starter and the Kings have spent some of the year at the top of the conference even. He was the only other goalie invited to the summer evaluation camp along with Miller and Thomas so it’s no great surprise to see him chosen. Age may have also been a factor – Quick is the up and coming youngster.

Colorado goalie Craig Anderson led the surprising Avs to the hottest start in the league, but has cooled off a bit of late. He’ll be disappointed for certain, but being significantly older than Quick the USA Hockey brain trust may have felt the third spot should go to someone who could benefit from the experience -Quick will  likely have a role to play in future Olympics.

But what about Jimmy Howard of the Red Wings? He started slowly but now looks like a real #1. He’s ahead of Thomas, Quick and Anderson in terms of GAA and Save %. Ty Conklin leads them all in Save % as well – maybe he’d get the job if the final was going to be played outdoors! If the selection were made in June when Howard would have the better part of a full season as a starter and he might have earned a trip to Vancouver.

Canada

Martin Brodeur now holds al the records and would like to add another Olympic Gold to his resume

Martin Brodeur06.05.1972New Jersey Devils
Marc-André Fleury28.11.1984Pittsburgh Penguins
Roberto Luongo04.04.1979Vancouver Canucks

There isn’t a lot of debate here, but had he not been injured for a long stretch Cam Ward would have likely been in the mix. Right now the former Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe winner’s numbers are average at best. The Islanders’ number one goalie Dwayne Roloson is having a strong season and together with six others (Turco, Chris Mason, Danis, LaBarbera, Lalime, Price) lead Fleury in Save %.  Only two non-selected Canadians lead Fleury in GAA (LaBarbera, Raycroft).

There’s far more to goaltending than stats, and clearly Steve Yzerman puts the most stock in Fleury getting wins – and a Stanley Cup.

Finland

No goalie in the NHL has better numbers than Boston's Tuukka Rask - but he'll be watching the Olympics from home

Niklas Bäckström13.02.1978Minnesota Wild, NHL
Miikka Kiprusoff26.10.1976Calgary Flames, NHL
Antero Niittymäki18.06.1980Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL

Finalnd is the world’s goalie factory with more NHL goaltenders per capita than anyone else. Three solid choices have been made but clearly the Finns put more emphasis on past performance – Nitty in the last Olympics and Backstrom in the NHL, especially last season when he was nominated for the Vezina.

How else can you explain leaving Bruins’ rookie goalie Tuukka Rask off this squad?– with no less than the top GAA and Save % in the league.

Pekka Rinne had a great shot going into the season but played himself off the team while Nittymaki was playing himself on.

Sweden

King Henrik is Sweden's undisputed leader heading to Vancouver

Jonas Gustavsson24.10.1984Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL
Stefan Liv21.12.1980HV71 Jönköping
Henrik Lundqvist02.03.1982New York Rangers, NHL

Lundqvist has been everyone’s first choice all along, and the Monster probably made it based on his work at last year’s World Championships. But you have to wonder what the discussion was like in leaving The Moose–Johan Hedberg–off the team.

You can explain Lundqvist’s fairly pedestrian numbers this year – he’s one of the few bright spots for the Rangers. But Hedberg is tending goal in Atlanta who are tied in the standings with New York.  Hedberg has the best GAA and save % of all Swedish NHL goalies, including Lundqvist. He has fewer wins (9 vs. 16) but they came in only 20 starts (vs. 35 for Lundqvist) so they are winning at the same rate.

If any readers can explain Liv getting the call, I’d love to know why. You can assume they see Lundqvist as the clear #1 and the Monster is in for experience as the Sweedish goalie of the future. But if King Hendrik goes down with an injury would you take Liv or Gustavsson over Hedberg as your next guy?

Russia

Evgeni Nabokov will be looking to backstop a powerful Russian team to Gold in Vancouver

Ilya Bryzgalov22.06.1980Phoenix Coyotes, NHL
Evgeni Nabokov25.07.1975San Jose Sharks, NHL
Semyon Varlamov27.04.1988Washington Capitals, NHL

No discussion here. Only Khabibulin is a big time goalie not on this team – but he’s been injured with what looks like a significant back injury for a long time now.

You’d normally assume the number one spot is Nabby’s to lose but Bryzgalov has led the very surprising Coyote’s to a great start and his numbers are better than every NHL goalie except Rask, and perhaps Miller. So look for both men to get some time and then the Russian’s should play the hot hand in later games.

Czech Republic

Czech Goalie Ondrej Pavelec probably won't see much time behind Tomas Vokun but he'll be ready is called upon to make the acrobatic saves Atlanta fans have come to expect

Ondrej Pavelec31.08.1987Atlanta Thrashers, NHL
Jakub Stepanek20.06.1986Vitkovice Ostrava
Tomas Vokoun02.07.1976Florida Panthers, NHL

Well it would have been fun to see Hasek make it, but it wasn’t to be. Vokoun is clearly the number one for the Czechs and he has the ability to keep them in the mix.

Slovakia

Jaroslav Halak is ready to be a number one in the NHL and he'll get the chance to show it for Slovakia

Peter Budaj18.09.1982Colorado Avalanche, NHL
Jaroslav Halak13.05.1985Montreal Canadiens, NHL
Rastislav Stana10.01.1980Severstal Cherepovets, RUS

With Craig Anderson getting the bulk of the load in Colorado and Halak challenging Carey Price for the number one spot in Montreal, look for Halak to lead the Slovaks in Vancouver. This is another opportunity to show Bob Gainey – or other NHL GM’s looking for help in goal – that he can carry a team on his back.

Germany

Thomas Greiss is the only NHL Goalie on the German Squad now that Olaf Kolzig has retired

Dennis Endras14.07.1985Augsburger Panther
Thomas Greiss29.01.1986San Jose Sharks, NHL
Dimitri Pätzold03.02.1983ERC Ingolstadt

Goaltending was always a German strength, thanks to Olaf Kolzig. Now that he has retired Look for Germany to ride the San Jose backup Thomas Greiss in Vancouver. Stuck behind Nabby in the NHL, this should be a great chance for Greiss to show what he can do on the international stage.

Switzerland

The Ducks' Jonas Hiller will be looking to lead another Swiss upset at the Olympics

Martin Gerber03.09.1974Atlant Mytishchi, RUS
Jonas Hiller12.02.1982Anaheim Ducks, NHL
Tobias Stephan21.01.1984Geneva-Servette

Jonas Hiller hasn’t exactly maintained the great form he had in last year’s NHL playoffs but he has the ability to steal a game when he’s on. Gerber stunned the Canadians – and the World – in Torino, and Hiller will try to do the same in Vancouver.

Latvia

Edgars Masalskis31.03.1980Dinamo Riga
Ervins Mustukovs07.04.1984Dinamo Riga
Sergejs Naumovs04.04.1969Dinamo Riga

Norway

Pål Grotnes07.03.1977Stjernen Frederikstad
Andre Lysenstøen27.10.1988HeKi Heinola, FIN2
Ruben Smith15.04.1987Storhamar Dragons

Belarus

Vitali Koval31.03.1980Dynamo Minsk
Maxim Malyutin16.09.1988HK Vitebsk
Andrei Mezin08.07.1974Dynamo Minsk

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About The Author

David Hutchison

David is one of the founders of InGoal Magazine which he began in 2009.Of course he finds time for some goaltending of his own as well, and despite his age, clings desperately to the idea that some NHL team will call him to play for them - though in his mid-forties (OK, late 40s) it'll likely be for a practice when everyone else on their depth chart has the flu and the shooter tutor has gone in for repairs.

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