Ryan Miller: Should he start for Team USA?

  • Tyler Race
(Buffalowins.com)

(Photo from Buffalowins.com)

During Friday’ practice for Team USA, it was announced that Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller will not start in the net during Saturday’s game against Russia. Instead, Johnathon Quick, who also started during Team USA’s lopsided 7-1 victory over Slovakia,  has been given the job to start in the net on Saturday.

Choosing Quick to start over Miller, however, certainly raises some questions. While it was believed back in August that Quick would earn the starting spot for Team USA, it seemed as though there was a chance that Miller would obtain that spot, instead. It is easy to see why some would believe Miller should start. After all, the Sabres’ goaltender has been the forefront of an abysmal team and Quick has struggled for a good portion of the season.

So this begs the question. What on earth could possibly make coach Dan Bylsma choose Quick over Miller? The answer to that question; Quick’s MVP performance during the 2012 Stanley Cup.

“Jonathan Quick is a goalie who has guided his team to a Stanley Cup and was a huge factor,” Bylsma said, “and a guy who in the past 12 games in the last month, has a goals-against just a shade over two and .918 save percentage, which are great numbers. He’s a great goalie.”

Quick is not a bad choice–by any means. But the Kings’ goaltender has struggled a bit this season, losing in four of his last five starts, and has 13 losses in 32 games played. If we are looking at consistency, then Ryan Miller should be the ideal candidate to start in the net for Team USA. Perhaps things could be taken a step further. Miller has a tendency to work at the edge of the net, whereas Quick has an opposite tendency–a much more aggressive style, which can lead to mistakes. Luckily for Quick, he gets to play for a more defensive-minded team, so it does not always appear as an issue. Miller does not. The Sabres are far from a defensive-minded team. Their record shows that.

Quick starting is a bit of a head scratcher, yes, but the 33-year-old Ryan Miller, while admittedly disappointed, will continue to be a team player for Team USA.

“I’m ready to play if need be. I’m not going to take it as a slight. I’m on this team for a reason and I’ll just be ready to go” Miller said.

Should Ryan Miller start for Team USA? Certainly, based on his consistency and experience, it would be the ideal decision.

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