Although there was never much doubt, we can now officially say that Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller will represent the United States in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Quick have also made the squad and, as Miller pointed out to Sabres.com, there’s still a good amount of time left before Team USA has to decide who their starting goaltender will be. However, given Howard and Quick’s lukewarm and injury filled 2013-14 campaigns compared to Miller’s stunning performance in the 2010 Games, the Sabres netminder has to be seen as the heavy favorite.
It will be different this time around though as he’ll have to go from playing in an NHL-sized rink to an Olympic one. He’s going to try watching tapes to prepare, but he won’t actually get much of an opportunity to try out the Sochi ice before it’s time to play.
“It’s going to be quite the adjustment to go over there and have maybe one or two practices maybe if that and have to execute,” Miller said. “I’ll have to mentally prepare and do the work in your mind first. I’ll try and squeeze some time in if I can get on the Olympic sheet [in Buffalo]. Maybe I’ll get the keys to the building, sneak in, see what I can do.”
Although that will be an added challenge he’ll have to deal with this time around, he’s obviously looking forward to the games. It’s an opportunity to go to a part of the world he’s never seen before and meet up with athletes he might not otherwise have much of an opportunity to seen.
It’s also a chance for him to deal with some unfinished business after he came tantalizingly close to the gold medal in 2010.
Thursday’s game between the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers wasn’t even nine minutes old by the time Dale Weise had recorded the Gordie Howe hat trick.
Already with the opening goal and an assist on Radko Gudas‘ goal, giving Philly a 3-0 lead, Weise dropped the gloves with Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic for a spirited fight off a faceoff.
Not many, if any, positives for the Islanders after a disastrous start. Needing a win to close the gap on the Boston Bruins in the wild card race, New York fell behind 5-0 by the time the first period was over.
There is perhaps even more bad news for the Islanders: Hamonic wasn’t on the bench to begin the second period.
The Islanders have since provided an update: Hamonic will not return to this game due to an upper-body injury.
Talk about the worst possible start for the New York Islanders.
Trailing the Boston Bruins by four points for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders lived through a nightmare to begin Thursday’s game, falling behind the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-0 — before the midway point of the first period.
Dale Weise started the scoring at 4:30 of the first period. By the 9:19 mark, the Flyers opened up a four-goal lead and had already chased Islanders starting goalieThomas Greiss, who allowed three goals on eight shots.
Jaroslav Halak was brought into the game and promptly surrendered a goal to Jordan Weal.
It continued to get worse for the Islanders, who finished the first period trailing by five goals. Shots? They were 19-10 in favor of Philly. Yup. It was bad.
With Josh Ho-Sang in the box serving a double-minor for high sticking, Wayne Simmonds gave Philly a 5-0 lead with his 30th goal of the year.
Shaping up to be a long night for the Islanders.
For the first time since the lockout-shortened season, the Ottawa Senators will not have star defenseman Erik Karlsson in their lineup.
With the Sens four points back of Montreal for the Atlantic Division lead, Karlsson will not play tonight versus the Minnesota Wild, which ends his ironman streak at 324 consecutive games played.
Karlsson trails Brent Burns by only five points for the lead in that category among NHL defenseman. He also logs close to 27 minutes of ice time per game. Only three blue liners in the entire league — Dustin Byfuglien, Drew Doughty and Ryan Suter — play more on average per game.
The injury reportedly occurred when Karlsson blocked a shot against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Trade deadline acquisition Jyrki Jokipakka is expected to make his debut for Ottawa, per the Citizen.
“If we miss him for a game or two, we’re not sure what’s going to happen,” forward Mark Stone told the Ottawa Citizen. “He’s the best defenceman in the world. If you take him out of your lineup, it’s obviously a huge blow.”
The Boston Bruins hold the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and they will look to continue their push for the playoffs when they host the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
You can catch the game on NBCSN (7:30 p.m. ET) or online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
McAvoy has the talent to improve Bruins right now
NHL on NBCSN: Bruins continue push for playoff spot against Stars
Stars go deeper than rock bottom in Ruff’s ‘worst game’ with team