Report: U.S. Olympic goalie trio will be Quick, Miller, Howard


While it’s far from official, word is that the U.S. Olympic team’s trio of goalies will be Jimmy Howard, Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Howard is being described as the “third-stringer,” according to the report. If a Nov. 23 bit was correct, David Poile & Co. decided to leave three prominent contenders off the list: Ben Bishop, Cory Schneider and Tim Thomas.

One can draw quite a few conclusions from the Howard, Miller and Quick group, but a common theme seems to be that the United States favored big picture results over success in 2013-14.

Miller, 33, has been suffering in Buffalo record-wise (9-17-1), but has shown some perseverance by collecting a strong .924 save percentage. He’s also on a four-game point streak (3-0-1), for whatever that’s worth. No doubt, his sterling performance in gaining the U.S. a silver medal back in 2010 likely factors into his inclusion, too.

Quick, 27, hasn’t played since Nov. 12 thanks to a groin injury and wasn’t putting up the greatest numbers before that issue cropped up. His 10-5-0 record is nice enough, but his .905 save percentage seems more glaring now that Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones have enjoyed more success in the Los Angeles Kings’ net. Of course, Quick is the one with a Conn Smythe Trophy and a Stanley Cup on his resume.

Howard, 29, sports the strange record of 6-8-7 on the season, with generally average (.910 save percentage, 2.65 GAA) individual numbers. He’s been frequently outplayed by Jonas Gustavsson in Detroit this season, but has quietly amassed a nice reputation as one of the league’s better workhorse goalies.

If the U.S. wanted to go with a “flavor of the month” option, they might have turned to Lightning goalie Bishop. The towering 27-year-old is tied for second in wins this season with 20 and has a fantastic .935 save percentage behind a Lightning defense that was often described as leaky before the 2013-14 season.

Granted, there’s always the chance that this report might be incorrect. We’ll know for sure if this is indeed the trio that America will bring to Sochi after the 2014 Winter Classic concludes.

Assuming this is correct, did the U.S. tab the right trio in Howard, Miller and Quick?

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?