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?
|Ryan Miller||17.07.1980||Buffalo Sabres|
|Tim Thomas||15.04.1974||Boston Bruins|
|Jonathan Quick||21.01.1986||Los 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.
|Martin Brodeur||06.05.1972||New Jersey Devils|
|Marc-André Fleury||28.11.1984||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|Roberto Luongo||04.04.1979||Vancouver 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.
|Niklas Bäckström||13.02.1978||Minnesota Wild, NHL|
|Miikka Kiprusoff||26.10.1976||Calgary Flames, NHL|
|Antero Niittymäki||18.06.1980||Tampa 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.
|Jonas Gustavsson||24.10.1984||Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL|
|Stefan Liv||21.12.1980||HV71 Jönköping|
|Henrik Lundqvist||02.03.1982||New 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?
|Ilya Bryzgalov||22.06.1980||Phoenix Coyotes, NHL|
|Evgeni Nabokov||25.07.1975||San Jose Sharks, NHL|
|Semyon Varlamov||27.04.1988||Washington 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.
|Ondrej Pavelec||31.08.1987||Atlanta Thrashers, NHL|
|Jakub Stepanek||20.06.1986||Vitkovice Ostrava|
|Tomas Vokoun||02.07.1976||Florida 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.
|Peter Budaj||18.09.1982||Colorado Avalanche, NHL|
|Jaroslav Halak||13.05.1985||Montreal Canadiens, NHL|
|Rastislav Stana||10.01.1980||Severstal 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.
|Dennis Endras||14.07.1985||Augsburger Panther|
|Thomas Greiss||29.01.1986||San Jose Sharks, NHL|
|Dimitri Pätzold||03.02.1983||ERC 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.
|Martin Gerber||03.09.1974||Atlant Mytishchi, RUS|
|Jonas Hiller||12.02.1982||Anaheim Ducks, NHL|
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.
|Edgars Masalskis||31.03.1980||Dinamo Riga|
|Ervins Mustukovs||07.04.1984||Dinamo Riga|
|Sergejs Naumovs||04.04.1969||Dinamo Riga|
|Pål Grotnes||07.03.1977||Stjernen Frederikstad|
|Andre Lysenstøen||27.10.1988||HeKi Heinola, FIN2|
|Ruben Smith||15.04.1987||Storhamar Dragons|
|Vitali Koval||31.03.1980||Dynamo Minsk|
|Maxim Malyutin||16.09.1988||HK Vitebsk|
|Andrei Mezin||08.07.1974||Dynamo Minsk|
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