Four years ago at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, fans saw one of the most rousing hockey tournaments in Olympic history. It featured an American team, assembled with tons of young talent, going up against the mighty Team Canada in their own backyard. Their first meeting resulted in a stunning 5-3 upset victory for USA, however, the two neighboring countries met again in the gold medal round.
It was here where American starting goalie and current member Buffalo Sabres, Ryan Miller‘s, nightmares were born. Tied 2-2 in overtime, Miller allowed a goal by Pittsburgh Penguins‘ star and all-around Captain Canada, Sidney Crosby. All in all, it was a crushing defeat for the Americans, despite winning silver medals.
Well, years later, as Team USA enters Olympic training camp, it appears Miller is still recovering from the crushing goal.
“I haven’t come to terms with it,” said Miller. “We went there to win.”
Nobody would expect anything less from him, as Team USA wasn’t even supposed to be in the final round, much less hanging around with the vaunted Canadian team. Many figured the gold medal would be fought for between Canada and Russia. So to come that close, only to fall short in overtime, was quite a blow.
For what it’s worth, Miller wants a chance at redemption.
“I want to make the team. I want to be the guy who’s there stopping pucks in Sochi. I want to start. I want to play,” said Miller.
Its there where things get complicated. For one, he’s not exactly the same goalie he was three years ago. In 2010, he was widely considered the best American goalie across the board, putting him as a no-doubt-about-it starter above Tim Thomas and Jonathan Quick.
Quick, once a third stringer, has now surged past Miller in terms of overall rankings. The Los Angeles Kings goalie and Conn Smythe winner is currently the odds on favorite to start in Sochi next year. Also in camp is Ottawa Senators‘ standout Craig Anderson and Detroit Red Wings starter Jimmy Howard, both of whom had better seasons than Miller last year that included playoff appearances.
So, unfortunately for Miller, if he wants to start, he has one heck of an uphill battle in front of him. Valiant as his efforts were in 2010, the competition is much stronger for the starting nod this time around. At this point, it would seem as though starting Miller would be a, “but he did really great last time,” move that could sink Team USA’s chances.
With so much talent in camp, Miller should be less focused on starting, and put more effort into even making the team.