With Jimmy Howard sidelined after re-injuring his knee, Ben Bishop knows he could be in line for a spot on the American Olympic team headed to Sochi in early February.
He’s just not going to focus on it.
“It’d be something special, obviously,” Bishop said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “But it has nothing to do with me right now, so it’s nothing for me to speculate about or even waste time thinking about.”
Howard tweaked his knee during Monday’s loss to St. Louis, just weeks after suffering an MCL sprain that sidelined him for eight games. This latest setback will require getting fluid drained, per NHL.com’s Brian Hedger, and keep Howard off ice for at least seven days.
According to the Associated Press, Howard — who beat out Bishop for the No. 3 gig on the American team — “insists he is not concerned about missing the Sochi Games,” but one wonders if the selection committee feels the same way.
Bishop has reportedly been told he’s the No. 4 goalie on the American depth chart and would be on the team should an injury eliminate one of Howard, Jonathan Quick or Ryan Miller. The Tampa Bay netminder has the best statistical resume of any American goalie this year, posting a 24-6-4 record with a 1.93 GAA and .935 save percentage.
Looking at the calendar, this latest injury will keep Howard from playing until Jan. 29 at the earliest, meaning he’ll miss games against Chicago, Montreal, Florida and Philadelphia. From there — assuming he’s fit to return — Howard will have just a handful of games to get into shape for the Olympics.
Detroit plays five times from Jan. 31-Feb.8, and the tournament is set to get underway on Feb. 12.