USA head coach Dan Bylsma, center, talks to his three goalies(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Will He Start? Ryan Miller May Be Team USA's Man
SOCHI, Russia (WBEN) - When the USA Hockey team takes the ice early Thursday morning, who will get the start in net?
USA Head Coach Dan Bylsma won't say who his opening night goalie will be, or even if that man will start all of Team USA's games, but Brian Murphy, who is in Sochi covering the team for the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, believes that Bylsma has hinted Miller will be the starter.
"It was very subtle, but he mentioned that Ryan (Miller) has been healthy all season, and he's put up sharp numbers, frankly on a bad team. And he's been more consistent" Murphy said. "He's a big-game goalie, and he knows how to play in this tournament in particular. I think he'll get the game one nod."
If Miller starts game one against Slovakia (set for 7:30AM EST), it doesn't guarantee he will be the starter for game two on Saturday.
Adam Kimmelman of NHL.com believes that the US will give both Miller and LA Kings' goalie Jonathan Quick a start in the preliminary round. "I think they have the opportunity in these first two preliminary round games to give Ryan Miller a game, give Jonathan Quick a game, and then have a couple of days of practice and two games sort of sort the situation out itslef."
Murphy on the other hand believes that if Miller starts game one, there may be no turning back. "I think the big game here in the first three is not only the first one but the second one against Russia. Who do you want in net for that pressure-cooker game in a hostile environment? I think Ryan Miller, if he proves himself against Slovakia, would most likely get the nod again."
Team USA takes the ice against Slovakia at 7:30 Thursday morning. They then play the host nation Russia Saturday morning, also at 7:30AM.