In five days, USA Hockey will announce its roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia — a timeline Ben Bishop is all too aware of.
“It’d be a huge honor, something that nobody can take away from you,” Bishop told the Tampa Bay Times about the possibility of making Team USA. “It’d be pretty cool to say that you’re an Olympian.
“I’m just trying to play my best right now and make it a hard decision on them. [It’ll be] on my mind quite a bit.”
And so it should be, as no American goalie has seen his stock rise more this year than Bishop.
After a tough stretch with USA Hockey that saw him lose his No. 1 gig at the World Championships and fail to receive an invite to the summer orientation camp, Bishop has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2013-14 campaign, posting a 20-5-2 record while raking fifth in the NHL in GAA (1.93), fifth in save percentage (.935) and tied for first in shutouts, with three.
His inspired play led American GM David Poile to announce that Bishop was “absolutely” in he Team USA mix.
“He’s played terrific,” Poile said when asked about Bishop’s candidacy. “He’s definitely on our radar.”
The big x-factor will be if Bishop’s done enough in a small window of opportunity, given this is his first extended stretch as a starting netminder in the NHL.
Most pundits figure Jonathan Quick will be on the team and the No. 1 heading into Sochi, with the other spots remaining up for grabs between the likes of Bishop, Ryan Miller, Tim Thomas, Jimmy Howard and Cory Schneider.