By Mike Meyer
September 17-October 1st will return the World Cup of Hockey. The tournament will consist players representing their counties from: Canada, United States, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, and will also feature teams North America (players ages 23 and under), as well as Team Europe, which will consist of players representing the rest of Europe.
With the World Cup of Hockey rapidly approaching, it’s time to get to know the USA Goalies.
29 years old, standing in at a towering 6’7” and currently playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ben Bishop, nicknamed “Big Ben”, was drafted 85thoverall by the St. Louis Blues in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. In 2012, Bishop would ultimately find himself to be the odd man out amongst a crowded goalie cupboard in St. Louis. In 2012, the Blues would feature a goalie lineup featuring Ben Bishop in the AHL, alongside teammates Jake Allen and Jordan Binnington, and NHL goalie tandem, Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak. St. Louis opted to trade Bishop to the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline before his 1-year contract expired. Partially due to the NHL Lockout in 2013 and the play of teammate, Craig Anderson, Bishop would only play 23 total games for the Sens (starting 21). Nearly one year later, Bishop would be traded once again. This time, to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since the trade to Tampa Bay, the St. Louis native Ben Bishop has posted a 115-52 record, a 2.24 GAA, and a .922 SV%. Time in Tampa has been good to Ben. Looking forward to the tournament, Bishop should look to build upon his successful 2015-2016 season. Named the All-Time Leader in shutouts for the Tampa Bay Lightning, a Finalist for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the 2016 NHL Second All-Star Team, leader of the NHL with a 2.06 GAA, and an 8-2 record playoff performance in 11 games played and posting a 1.86 GAA, .939 SV%. Like his entire career before him, look for Ben Bishop to not give up the net without a fight. He could very well be an underrated weapon in the upcoming World Cup for the United States.
Drafted by the LA Kings in 2007, Jonathan Quick has never known anything else but to be a
King. Olympic Silver medalist in 2010, NHL All-Star, 2x Vezina Trophy Finalist, 2011-12 Conn Smythe Trophy Winner, and 2x Stanley Cup Champion. Jonathan Quick knows how to win. March 14th, 2016 marked one of the few highlights of Quick’s 2015-2016 campaign as he became the all-time leader in shutouts amongst American born goaltenders. Along with his 40-23 record, this would be one of the very few highlights for Quick and the Kings during the season. The Los Angeles Kings were quickly bounced in the 2016 playoffs, as Jonathan Quick went 1-4 with a 3.04 GAA and a .886 save percentage, his poorest NHL postseason performance to date since his rookie campaign in 2009-10. Love him or hate him during the regular season all you want. When it comes time for international play though, this is one goaltender that the United States will be glad to have on their side.
5 years in Vancouver, a 55-26 record. 3 years in New Jersey a 69-71 record. Cory Schneider has been a star amongst a career of poor rosters and even poorer performance in front of him. A career 270 games played by the 30-year-old Schneider has earned him 124-97 record. Not the most impressive. So why is he on this squad? Cory Schneider throughout those 270 games played has posted a remarkable 2.16 GAA and .925 save percentage. A statistic that makes even the best of us scratch our heads and wonder about that overall record. But wait, there’s more! (queue the spinning Cory Schneider ad) Cory is the only goaltender amongst the 3 with an above .900 save percentage in all situations (even strength, power play, and penalty kill). With the type of lineups hat Cory has had in front of him, one can only wonder what would happen when he is backing the United States’ best.
The United States will have plenty of ways to address their goaltenders in the upcoming tournament. Whether one goaltender starts to falter, Head Coach, John Tortorella will have plenty of quality options to rely upon.