There were a few eyebrows raised when Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop — the lone NHL netminder on Team USA’s entry at the World Hockey Championships — lost his starting job to 19-year-old John Gibson midway through the tournament.
There were more raised when Bishop failed to win it back, and spent the remainder of the tourney as a backup.
One person trying to put a positive spin on the situation, though, was Bishop’s GM — Steve Yzerman.
“You can take a positive approach to every situation you go to and learn from it and benefit from it,” Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s good for him.
“[Bishop] hasn’t played a ton and the more things you can experience — obviously, we all hope things go well — but you can learn a lot when they don’t go as well and be better for it.”
Bishop went 3-2-0 in the tourney with a 2.83 GAA and .876 save percentage. Those sub par numbers were exacerbated in a game against Slovakia where a pair of gaffes — a puckhandling error that led to a goal, a weak shot through his legs — ended up costing the Americans in a eventual 4-1 loss.
Bishop, 26, did show some positive signs upon being acquired by the Bolts at the deadline.
His first game was a 45-save shutout against Carolina, yet his numbers at the end of the year with Tampa Bay weren’t great: 3-4-1 record, with a 2.99 GAA and .917 save percentage.
But as far as Yzerman’s concerned, it’s all a part of the process.
“The biggest thing for goaltenders is mental toughness and the ability to come back the next night regardless of what happened the previous night,” he said.
“”That comes with time. Play a lot and you learn to deal with situations good or bad. Any of these experiences help a lot.”