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Burke discusses goalie choice, other roster selections

Monday, 01.04.2010 / 4:52 PM / All-Access Vancouver

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"In general, I would tend to play one goalie; ride the hot goalie. One of our things here when we talked about players is we're not going to Vancouver to showcase players, we're there to win a gold medal. Teams that have won gold have traditionally played one goalie."
-- Ron Wilson

The questions directed at Team USA general manager Brian Burke came fast and furious following the announcement of the U.S. Olympic Team on New Year's Day in Boston.

As you would expect, a stern-faced Burke waited his turn before defending those decisions.

One of those difficult choices came in the form of a third-string goalie, behind Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Boston's Tim Thomas. Would it be Los Angeles keeper Jonathan Quick or Colorado's Craig Anderson?

Ultimately, Burke and his staff chose the younger Quick.

"We just thought Quick has shown a more consistent season and while Andy started off great, he fell off a bit," Burke said. "The age difference was probably the determining factor as Quick will probably be part of the program moving forward. The (third-string) goalie is not expected to see a lot of action, so we probably made the choice to the side of the program."

Quick, 23, has actually played the most minutes (2,284) of any goaltender in the NHL this season and is tied for fourth in the League with 22 wins.

Team USA coach Ron Wilson intends to ride the hot hand between the pipes once the Games begin for the United States on Feb. 16 against Switzerland.

"In general, I would tend to play one goalie; ride the hot goalie," Wilson said. "One of our things here when we talked about players is we're not going to Vancouver to showcase players, we're there to win a gold medal. Teams that have won gold have traditionally played one goalie."

Here's what Burke had to say about a few other members of the squad he selected to represent the United States at the 2010 Games in Vancouver next month.

Chris Drury -- "We picked Chris Drury because he's Chris Drury. We think he provides essential leadership and think he's as good as another coach in the dressing room. He's one of the first players we reached out to when we put this team together, so he's been involved from the get-go and I don't have to say anything else. He represents a lot of things that we need in order to be successful."

Joe Pavelski -- "Joe Pavelski is a Swiss army knife as a hockey player. He does a whole bunch of different things well; he's in every conceivable man-power situation. He's used on the power-play, shorthanded and plays in 4-on-3 and 3-on-4 situations. He's won over 60 percent of his faceoffs this year, works hard and has a high IQ. We wanted to have five centers -- we want to have depth at the center position and that's what we did."

Phil Kessel -- "We've only seen Phil for 14-15 games following his recovery from shoulder surgery. He's been terrific for us. What he's demonstrated for us is that his playmaking ability is as good as his scoring ability. He's using his speed to drive people off the blueline, stopping and making intelligent plays, so he's been terrific."

Mike Komisarek -- "Mike Komisarek had a slow start for us. I think he came in and tried to do too much. It was the first time in his life that he was a featured player. He got big money and had big expectations. He probably was a little too excited out of the gate. But he's calmed down and played extremely well for us. He's a big-bodied defenseman with a great shot. He's been a reliable partner and good option for (Toronto teammate) Tomas Kaberle. He's always in the top 10 among NHL defensemen in blocked shots and that's my kind of guy."

David Backes -- "When you watch St. Louis play, David plays all three forward positions. He takes faceoffs and kills penalties and on the second power-play unit sometimes. He had a slow start at the start of the year but is putting the puck in the net now. He's an example of a big-bodied guy that can do several things well."

Ryan Callahan -- "Ryan's a really good penalty-killer with good foot speed and is top five in the League in hits as far as forwards go. He does so many things well and that's why we liked him."

Tim Thomas -- "I was so happy for Tim. That first goal he let in (against Philadelphia in the Winter Classic) was a mental mistake. He got knocked down by (Scott) Hartnell earlier in the shift, got up and was mad and threw an elbow at him and the puck went in. For a player of his maturity level and his experience at the time, I thought that was a sophomore mistake; but he atoned for that and then some with the saves he made in the end. He was great. I'm sure it's a day he won't forget for a while."

Contact Mike Morreale at mmorreale@nhl.com