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Grahame stays benched after opening tie

He came as a starter, he left as a spectator.

The Lightning's John Grahame was in goal when the U.S. opened the Olympics with a 3-3 tie against Latvia, but did not see another minute of action.

USA coach Peter Laviolette switched to Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro in the second game, and stuck with him except for a meaningless pool game against Russia when Robert Esche started.

"We explained to the goaltenders from the start that all three were starters in the National Hockey League and it was a very difficult decision," Laviolette said. "Johnny had played well prior to that, but it was pretty close to be honest. Ricky had played in world championships before.

"Coming out of the first game, we thought John did a good job. Coming out of the second game, we thought Ricky handled it a little better.

"It wasn't necessarily about John, it was about Ricky."

DiPietro finished with a 1-3-0 record and a 2.27 goals-against average. Grahame was 0-0-1 with a 3.0 average.

- JOHN ROMANO, Times Sports Columnist