Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning's Bishop a U.S. Olympic team candidate


Ben Bishop said it has been easy the past few months not to think about his chances of making the U.S. Olympic team. • After all, Bishop, 27, has had enough on his plate establishing himself as the Lightning's No. 1 goalie • But he admits that potentially wearing the red, white and blue in February in Sochi, Russia, likely will be "on my mind quite a bit" next week, when the team will be announced Wednesday at the Winter Classic. • "It'd be a huge honor, something that nobody can take away from you," Bishop said. "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." • Bishop has made a strong case for consideration with his play this season. With Steven Stamkos out with a broken leg, suffered Nov. 11 in Boston, Bishop has helped lift the Lightning (23-11-3), winner of five straight, to third place in the Eastern Conference. He is 20-5-2 and ranks among the league leaders in wins (second), goals-against average (1.93, fifth), shutouts (three, tied for first) and save percentage (.935, fifth).

Though Bishop lost his starting job for the U.S. team at the world championships in May and wasn't invited to the U.S. Olympic orientation camp, there typically is an emphasis on who is performing well leading up to the Olympics. Nashville Predators general manager David Poile, who is in charge of the U.S. team, has said Bishop is "absolutely" on his radar.

"You have to put (Bishop) as one of the most valuable players considering the injury to Steven Stamkos," said former Flames general manager Craig Button, an NHL Network analyst. "Everyone thought the Lightning would capsize, but Bishop has been a big reason they've continued to win."

Bishop, who has played just 73 NHL games, said he never has expected to make the U.S. team, but if he did, it would be "super special."

"For me, I've got to play well (with the Lightning) to make that team," Bishop said.

The U.S. team will carry three goalies, with Bishop among six reported finalists, along with the Sabres' Ryan Miller, the Red Wings' Jimmy Howard, the Devils' Cory Schneider, the Kings' Jonathan Quick and the Panthers' Tim Thomas. Miller, Thomas and Quick were on the 2010 team that got the silver medal. Miller was the starter and named the tournament MVP.

"When I narrow it down, after Ryan Miller, there hasn't been a more consistent goaltender that has played (this season) than Bishop," Button said. "If it's about merit and about stepping up and playing and (going to the Olympics) because you performed, then Ben Bishop is the guy."

Joe Smith can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TBTimes_JSmith.

Ben Bishop's competition

Here's a breakdown of the other goalie candidates for the U.S. Olympic team, to be announced Wednesday:

Ryan Miller, Sabres (9-17-0, 2.76 goals-against average, .924 save percentage): Miller, 33, is essentially a lock to make the team. He was named tournament MVP of the 2010 Games for leading the Americans to the silver medal. The 2010 Vezina Trophy (top goalie) winner has played well for the struggling Sabres this season and could be the Olympic starter for the United States again.

Jonathan Quick, Kings (10-5-0, 2.35. .905): Quick, 28 next month, was the third goalie on the 2010 U.S. team and was expected to get a shot again for 2014. But the 2012 playoff MVP and Stanley Cup winner has been out with a strained groin since mid November and isn't expected to return until the first week of January, which puts his Olympic spot in jeopardy.

Tim Thomas, Panthers (9-10-1, 2.75, .909): Thomas, 39 but seemingly ageless, was Miller's backup in 2010. He is resuming his career with the Panthers after taking last season off, and the two-time Vezina Trophy winner and former longtime Bruin has been solid.

Cory Schneider, Devils (4-8-5, 2.20, .910): Schneider, 27, the heir apparent to Martin Brodeur in New Jersey, has split time with the future Hall of Famer this season. He has allowed 17 goals in his past five games.

Jimmy Howard, Red Wings (6-8-7, 2.65, .910): Howard, 29, was thought to be another great candidate, but he struggled in November and now is out with a knee injury. His health also could hurt his chances of making the team.

Lightning's Bishop a U.S. Olympic team candidate 12/26/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 26, 2013 10:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays' Evan Longoria: "We have all the belief in the world in here"


    The weekend sweep by Texas and four-game overall losing streak has some Rays fans - based on their tweets and emails - questioning the team's ability to make the playoffs and suggesting they might as well trade away their key parts.

  2. What are the odds the Rays trade for Brad Hand or Pat Neshek?


    In each of the last three seasons, the Rays have been sellers at the trade deadline. They shipped away David Price in 2014, got rid of David DeJesus and Kevin Jepsen in 2015 and flipped Matt Moore, Steve Pearce and Brandon Guyer in 2016.

    Padres left-hander Brad Hand has excelled in his two years with the team.
  3. Gerald McCoy cares too much about what you think of him

    The Heater

    Gerald McCoy is right. We are going to miss him when he's gone.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is one of 16 players to record at least five sacks in each of the past five seasons. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Ronde Barber says comments about McCoy 'sensationalized'


    If anyone thinks Ronde Barber was throwing shade at Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, think again.

    "That anyone would assume I would say the best player on the defense isn’t a bad dude is irresponsible and sensationalizing a quote to serve their own means,'' Ronde Barber said.
  5. USA Today sees Bucs as 10-6 wild card team in 2017


    Another day, another national outlet making NFL predictions, and this one is promising for Tampa Bay fans, as USA Today's Nate Davis has the Bucs going 10-6 and making the …

    Bucs DT Gerald McCoy tries to bring down Giants QB Eli Manning in a 2015 game. Tampa Bay and New York are both picked to finish 10-6 in USA Today's preseason predictions, both making the playoffs as wild cards.