Goalie Ben Bishop left off U.S. Olympic team
The U.S. Olympic team was announced on Wednesday after Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings in the Winter Classic, and Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop was not among the three goalies named to the team.
"Obviously, I'm a little upset," Bishop said after he made 28 saves in a 4-2 victory over the Canucks Wednesday night at Rogers Arena. "But those are three really good goalies and I wish them the best of luck."
Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick, Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Detroit's Jimmy Howard will play for the team that will compete next month at the Games in Sochi, Russia, though Bishop's stats beat them all. Not that stats should be the only criteria, but Bishop's exclusion still is curious in that Team USA general manager David Poile told the Tampa Bay Times in November that when it comes to goaltenders more important in the selection process was how a player was doing now.
"Especially for goalies," Poile told the Times, "we need guys who are playing well this year. Certainly that favors somebody like Ben with how he's playing."
Bishop, 27, who grew up in St. Louis, entered Wednesday tied for third in the league with 20 wins (20-5-3), sixth with a 1.89 goals-against average, third with a .935 save percentage and tied for second with three shutouts.
Quick was 10-5-0 with a 2.35 goals-against average. Miller was 10-17-1 with a 2.69 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. Howard is 6-9-8 with a 2.72 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.
A story by espn.com's Scott Burnside seems to sheds some light. Given behind-the-scenes access to the selection process, Burnside writes that the red flags with Bishop were his lack of playoff experience (this is his first season as a No. 1 and he has played just 74 NHL games) and that he lost his starting job at last year's world championship to youngster John Gibson, who led the United States to a bronze medal.
It was clear, Burnside wrote that Bishop "does not have the confidence" of the selection committee.
More important, Burnside wrote was Quick's 2012 Stanley Cup championship and playoff MVP, Miller being the MVP of the 2010 Olympics and Howard's deep playoff experience, though Howard has been injured this season and has not played well.
You can read that entire report here.
Poile told reporters at the Winter Classic that players such as Bishop and fellow goalies Tim Thomas and Cory Schneider made the decisions difficult.
"We didn't pick the best 25 players," Poile said. "We picked the best 25 players that would help us (as a team) win the gold medal."
Despite putting up the best numbers among U.S. goaltenders, that did not include Ben Bishop.