Six goalies in running for spots on U.S. Olympic team


The New York Times reports that United States Olympic team GM David Poile confirmed that he’s identified six candidates to play in the 2014 Winter Olympics: Ben Bishop, Jimmy Howard, Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, Cory Schneider and Tim Thomas.

Poile said that the American hockey brass are “absolutely” working toward the trio that will take up the three roster spots, but it doesn’t appear that much is set in stone.

“I have an order today, but it might not be the final order,” Poile said. “It’s an ongoing situation. There’s no way we’re going to make the decision until Christmastime, and we’ve got a week after that.”

The Nashville Predators GM said that they look at stats “from save percentage to goal against, wins and losses,” but also consider a combination of a goalie’s entire body of work and current play.

So, basically, they look at everything that one would expect someone to consider when assessing Olympic goaltenders.

It could be an interesting race to watch. Who would be your No. 1 and who would make it to your top three?

(H/T to The Score.)

Goalie nods: Zatkoff in for Pens, Neuvirth for Caps


News and notes from the crease…

Pittsburgh to start Zatkoff

Jeff Zatkoff will make his first appearance since Nov. 2, getting the nod in goal for Pittsburgh tonight against the Islanders.

The little-used backup to Marc-Andre Fleury did record a shutout in his last game, a 19-save victory over Columbus, but has been largely inactive and still carries a 3.36 GAA and .865 save percentage on the year.

Zatkoff will square off with Kevin Poulin, who has assumed full-time starting duties for the Isles since Evgeni Nabokov went down to a groin injury.

Neuvirth goes for Caps

Michal Neuvirth will get just his fifth start of the season tonight against Montreal.

The Czech ‘tender hasn’t played since allowing three goals on 35 shots in a 4-3 shootout loss to Phoenix on Nov. 9. All told, Neuvirth has made just six appearances this season and has two wins — one against Calgary in early October, another against Florida on Nov. 2.

Peter Budaj will be in goal for the Canadiens tonight, giving Carey Price the night off.


Reto Berra will once again be in goal for Calgary tonight, but it’s unclear who he’ll face in the Florida net. Tim Thomas has played well as of late, but might be in line for a rest.

Roberto Luongo goes for Vancouver tonight in the first of a back-to-back (the Canucks host Chicago tomorrow). No word yet on who Columbus will put in goal — Sergei Bobrovsky has carried the load as of late, but backup Curtis McElhinney was stellar in a mid-October win over the Canucks.

Ben Bishop confirmed for Tampa against Anaheim. No confirmation yet on who the Ducks will have in goal.



Thomas tops Luongo again


A lot has changed since Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo faced off in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, but it seems like a few things stay the same. Luongo keeps joking and Thomas keeps winning … at least against each other, that is.

Thomas’ Florida Panthers nabbed a 3-2 shootout win against Luongo’s Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

The two made a November Panthers-Canucks game about as interesting as possible, as Thomas shook off the pairing’s past while Luongo reveled in it.

Thomas, 39, stopped 27 out of 29 shots while Luongo, 34, was plenty impressive in defeat, making 34 out of 36 saves.

It’s probably excessive to say that Thomas gets the last laugh. After all, he’s 4-6-0 and will probably stay home during the 2014 Winter Olympics while Luongo may very well start for Canada in Sochi and plays for a generally competitive (if frustrated) Canucks team.

Still, for one more night, Thomas edged Luongo … even if it wasn’t exactly like “old times.”

Goalie nods: Luongo vs. Thomas, Lehner in for Sens

News and notes from around the crease…

Tuesday Tire Pump

Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo will face each other for the first time since Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final tonight when the Panthers take on the Canucks in Vancouver.

Thomas played extremely well in his last start, stopping 32 of 33 shots in a win over Colorado. Luongo, meanwhile, hasn’t been as good — he’s lost three straight and four of his last five, though could hardly be faulted for either of the two goals that beat him in a 2-1 loss to Dallas on Sunday night.

In case you’re wondering about Thomas’ mindset heading into tonight…

Lehner goes for Sens

Ottawa will turn to its young Swedish netminder on Tuesday, giving Robin Lehner the start against Philly over Craig Anderson.

Lehner has won three straight starts by boasting a 1.33 GAA and .958 save percentage, including a 26-save effort over the Panthers on Nov. 9. He’ll look to exact revenge for an Ottawa team that lost 5-0 last time out to Philly — in that game, Anderson was torched for five goals on 31 shots in one of his roughest outings of the season.

Lehner will square off with Steve Mason tonight. Mason stopped 36 of 38 shots in his last outing, a shootout loss to Winnipeg.


— Big goaltending matchup in Buffalo tonight as Ryan Miller will get the nod for the Sabres, putting him up against St. Louis No. 1 Jaroslav Halak. Halak will be looking for redemption after getting yanked (three goals on six shots) in a 4-1 loss to Washington on Sunday, while Miller will look to build on his 32-save effort in a win over Toronto on Friday.

— Kevin Poulin, the Islanders’ new No. 1, will go against the Maple Leafs tonight in Toronto. The Buds will counter with Jonathan Bernier, who hasn’t played since Friday’s loss to Buffalo.

— It’s Marek Mazanec vs. Jimmy Howard in the Nashville-Detroit game, and Corey Crawford vs. Semyon Varlamov in the Chicago-Colorado affair on NBCSN.

— Sergei Bobrovsky will face Devan Dubnyk in Columbus-Edmonton, and Ben Bishop will take on the white-hot Ben Scrivens in the Tampa Bay-L.A. game.

Josh Harding starts for the Wild tonight in Montreal, but there’s been no confirmation as to who’ll go for the Habs.

— Henrik Lundqvist is the man for the Rangers tonight at MSG, though it’s uncertain who’ll start for Boston. Chad Johnson seems probable, but it’s yet to be locked in.

Luongo, however, is still joking about Thomas on Twitter


Tim Thomas is taking the high road when it comes to Roberto Luongo, which actually ties in nicely to the Vancouver Canucks’ latest Tweet. After all, it’s easier to take the high road with properly inflated tires, right?

Luongo posted the following cheeky tweet on Twitter Monday, with Tuesday’s game between the Florida Panthers and the Canucks in mind:

Does that mean there are hard feelings from Luongo’s side? Probably not, it just means that he’s willing to make fun of anything, especially his old rival.

Thomas shouldn’t feel singled out, though, as the 34-year-old made fun of Ilya Bryzgalov on Nov. 8.

(Ben Scrivens must feel a bit slighted by that one.)