2010 Winter Olympic Goalie Preview – USA

Tenders Lounge is taking an early look at the potential goalie lineups for the 2010 Winter Olympic hockey tournament in Vancouver.  The first segment of the series reviewed Team Canada, a team that many assumed had their two goalies lined up but after some playoff surprises could be making some changes.  This segment looks at Team USA who, for a refreshing change, will be looking anywhere but the crease for potential weaknesses to correct.

Tim Thomas is a lock for one of the two spots on Team USA and gives them the type of goaltending that can steal a game from Canada or Russia. Playing on NHL-sized ice will help Thomas-the-scrambler.

Tim Thomas is a lock for one of the two spots on Team USA and gives them the type of goaltending that can steal a game from Canada or Russia. Playing on NHL-sized ice will help Thomas, who's style is rarely as quiet as this reflective moment.

Safe Bets:  Barring injury or alien abduction Brian Burke should have the easiest job of all national team GM’s in choosing his top two goalies, Tim Thomas and Ryan Miller.  Thomas didn’t just come out of nowhere this year, despite many writers trying to paint that story.  His Vezina nomination is well-earned and when he’s hot he’s one of the top 4 or 5 goalies in the league.  Miller did all but play on a broken ankle this spring in an effort to drag his Sabres into the playoffs so assuming he’s healthy in the fall he’s a lock.

Worthy of Consideration:  Rick DiPietro would have been in the “safe bets” category if you’d been forecasting ahead at the end of the Torino games but injuries have put an abrupt end to every streak of momemtum over the past couple seasons.  His level of play when he’s healthy is more than enough to get him invited to camp.  Burke’s decision will come down to the level of confidence he has in DiPietro’s health when the final picks are announced in the fall.  Ty Conklin had a strong season as one half of Detroit’s one-two goalie punch and while he has not reached the level of Thomas or Miller he has certainly performed wherever he’s played.

"Best American Goalie" was once DiPietro's title to lose. Injuries have not only opened that job to competition but has him a couple spots from #1

"Best American Goalie" was once DiPietro's title to lose. Injuries have not only opened that job to competition but have landed him a couple spots from number one.

Long Shots:  Scott Clemmensen just can’t get any respect.  Despite his stellar play for the Devils this season he was sent back to the minors when Martin Brodeur returned.  And then he went to the World Championships in Switzerland only to play 3rd stringer behind Robert Esche and Al Montoya.  Esche had a strong season in Russia but based on what the public sees of Burke’s character I just don’t think he’s going to look at someone playing outside the NHL.  Craig Anderson had a strong season in Florida and threatens to steal the number one job from Tomas Vokun.  He doesn’t get much press playing in the Everglades but I don’t think Burke hurts his team by inviting Andersen to camp.

Mike Richter played Superman in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and Team USA hasn't had a goalie steal a tournament since.

Mike Richter played Superman in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and Team USA hasn't had a goalie steal a tournament since.

The good news for Team USA is they should have their best goaltending since Mike Richter stole the World Cup for them in 1996, and be as strong as any other country in the tournament.  The bad news is that if anything happens to Thomas and/or Miller the American team is left in the familiar position of wondering who’s going to steal a game for them.

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1 Comment

  1. […] 2010 Winter Olympic Goalie Preview – USA « Tenders LoungeTim Thomas is a lock for one of the two spots on Team USA and gives them the type of goaltending that can steal a game from Canada or Russia. Playing on NHL-sized ice will help Thomas, who’s style is rarely as quiet as this reflective … […]


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