Going into the season it looked like there would be a fierce battle for the three goaltending spots on the United States’ Olympic team, but Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Ben Bishop wouldn’t be a major part of that competition.
At this point though, it wouldn’t be surprising if his name is called on Jan. 1 when Team USA makes their announcement. He might not have the most impressive resume, but among goalies born in the United States, he currently leads the pack with a 1.96 GAA and .934 save percentage in 26 starts.
“We have a goaltender that has won a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe award (Jonathan Quick), our 2010 Olympic goalie (Ryan Miller), and we have other goalies that are doing unbelievable this year, and that includes Ben Bishop,” Team USA GM David Poile said, according to the Tampa Tribune.
“So I’m sure we are going to be making decisions that are going to upset some people at the end of the day, but we are just trying to do the best we can.”
It seems all but certain that Miller will make the squad and Quick is also a safe bet even as he nurses a groin injury. However, with Jimmy Howard and Craig Anderson playing below expectations, Bishop’s biggest rival for that final spot might be Cory Schneider.
In the meantime, Bishop will continue to serve as Tampa Bay’s starting goaltender as they battle for the Atlantic Division title despite the loss of Steven Stamkos.
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.
Leafs’ Nylander puts on show with breakaway goal, assist on Matthews’ 33rd
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.