There have been positional debates for all of the contending teams in the men’s hockey tournament at the Winter Olympics, and the United States wasn’t free from the speculation and conjecture in the lead-up to the team’s arrival and practices in Sochi.
Would Jonathan Quick or Ryan Miller draw the team’s initial start on February 13 against Slovakia? Quick was the third string goaltender during the Americans’ silver medal performance in the Vancouver Games and did not see the ice as Miller drew 97% of the team’s minutes, compiling a 1.35 goals-against average and .946 save percentage.
After being named to the team on January 1, Quick described his third string role in the 2010 games as a “great learning experience.”
“Just being a part of it and being in there for the games and seeing the intensity of the games, and anyone who was a part of it in 2010, not only will it help them here in 2014, but I’m sure also throughout their career – in regular season games, playoff games, anything like that…,” he said.
The 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy Winner have a larger role this time around. On Wednesday, Head Coach Dan Bylsma announced his starter for the team’s opening preliminary round game.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) February 12, 2014
Speaking on behalf of his opportunity, Quick gave credit to his Los Angeles teammates and described his focus while speaking with reporters.
From Helene Elliott’s LA Times article, Kings’ Jonathan Quick to start U.S. men’s Olympic hockey opener:
“There’s a lot of hard work put into it. I think the biggest thing is being able to play with guys back in L.A.,” he said. “The guys that I play with, this says a lot about them. When you play with great players they put you in a position and give you opportunities like this. So you’re thankful for that.
“And obviously, we’ve got a great group of guys here and you just try to win one game at a time, and that’s the focus.”
The United States is in Group A with Slovakia, Slovenia and hosts Russia.