Lightning prospect Gudlevskis could start in goal for Latvia

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BUFFALO — Latvia coach Ted Nolan has an interesting choice on his hand as to who starts in goal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The favorites to get the job are 33-year Edgars Masalskis and Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Kristers Gudlevskis.

Nolan spoke with PHT before leaving for Sochi and while he wouldn’t tip his hand about who starts, one of them has grabbed his eye.

“Right now we’ll make that decision at that time,” Nolan said. “We’ve got one experienced goalie and one up-and-comer and he’s playing well. He’s big, he’s athletic. So we’ll see how it all transpires. We’ll make that decision after we have one pre-scrimmage with Russia when we get there. After that we’ll make the final decision.

Nolan spoke about how 21-year-old Gudlevskis is “learning his way” as a goalie but lauded his play of late with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.

Masalskis was the goalie who helped Latvia qualify for the Olympics in 2012, but it was Gudlevskis who shined and took the starting job from him at the 2013 World Championships.

If there’s anything Nolan knows how to handle from his time with the Buffalo Sabres this season it’s goaltending. Then again, getting to choose between Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth is a little bit different.