Ryan Miller started one game for Team USA in the Olympics – a 5-1 victory over Slovenia in the preliminary round. Jonathan Quick has been the guy for Dan Bylsma and Team USA throughout the Olympics though, and it is perfectly understandable. With three outstanding goaltenders, Jimmy Howard being the third, Bylsma probably could have closed his eyes and chosen – it would have been a good choice either way.
Quick and Miller easily led Team USA to the second seed heading into the playoff round, the only close game in the prelims was a shootout victory over hosts Russia. Speaking of which, Quick played spectacular in the shootout round against a stacked Russian squad.
Without hesitation, Bylsma continued to use Quick as the starter in the playoff round, facing off against both the Czech Republic and Canada. Team USA came to play against the Czechs and cruised to a 5-2 win, but the tables were turned when taking on Canada in the next round. The effort wasn’t there, and they lost a heart-breaker in the semifinals. It wasn’t Quick’s fault at all, the loss or the lone goal that was scored. Jamie Benn was in the right place at the right time and netted a beautiful deflection – and of course Team Canada held on to the 1-0 lead to move into the gold medal game.
Should Bylsma have switched it up heading into the bronze medal game? Was Quick and Team USA bogged down by the loss to Canada in the semifinals? What if Miller could have sparked Team USA in the bronze medal game? No one can blame Blysma for sticking with Quick, but could the outcome have been different with Miller in the crease? Too many questions, and unfortunately, we will never have the answers.