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USA goaltender Jonathan Quick skates off the ice after a training session at the Bolshoy Ice Dome at the the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Miller Benched? Quick Starts Olympic Hockey in Goal



Jonathan Quick will be the goaltender for the U.S. when it plays Slovakia on Thursday in its Olympic hockey opener.

Coach Dan Bylsma says he has a plan in net for other preliminary-round games, but on Wednesday declined to say what it was.

Quick will get the start instead of Ryan Miller and No. 3 goalie Jimmy Howard. Miller helped the Americans win silver at the 2010 Olympics.

Eager as Miller is for the opportunity to reprise the MVP role he played in leading the U.S. to a silver-medal finish in Vancouver, he concedes there is no guarantee he'll get that shot in Russia.

Bylsma has not yet revealed his plans on the rest of his goalie rotation.  Miller is one of three goalies on the team., along with Quick of tjhe Los Angeles Kins  and Detroit's Jimmy Howard. The 33-year-old Miller earned his ticket to Sochi the hard way by being the best player on the NHL's worst team.

It's difficult to overlook what Miller accomplished four years ago. Aside from going 5-1 and allowing eight goals in six games at Vancouver, Miller went on to earn the NHL's Vezina Trophy that season.   In 11 seasons in Buffalo, Miller holds the franchise record with 283 wins and 539 games played.

For Miller, the Vancouver Games were a validation.

"I thought it just kind of confirmed that I could play at a high level for a lot of people," Miller said. "But I knew I could play that way."

Sochi, by comparison, provides Miller a chance to take care of unfinished business.

Of the thousands of goals Miller has allowed since he first began playing net on the backyard rink outside the family home in East Lansing, Mich., the one that infamously stands out is Sidney Crosby scoring in overtime to clinch Canada's 3-2 gold-medal victory.

Miller lets out a big sigh knowing he'll have a tough time avoiding seeing replays of Crosby's goal on TV.

"They'll be probably replaying it for years to come," he said. "You know, it's one moment in a tournament and a defining moment. People like to reference that. But it is what it is. It went in."

Four years later, he gets the opportunity to change the narrative and settle the score.

"You have to lose a game to get silver. You're a breath away from gold. It can be a hard award," Miller said. "It is a great tournament. But you want to be first. That's what drives you."

The Americans are a proven nightmare in international play with their combination of workmanlike play and stellar goaltending. While the hockey world focuses on Russia's collision course with defending champion Canada over the next 12 days in Sochi, the U.S. team is also quietly determined to reach the tournament final for the third time in the last four Olympics - and to leave with a better result.


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