We kind of figured this was going to happen, right?
After all, once the Olympic tournament begins, it's a two-week sprint to the podium with little room to recover from mistakes or poor decisions. The practice and preparation time is critical for teams and the United States is no different; they have some decisions to make with their defense but, as Dan Bylsma pointed out today, he's made a decision on his starting goaltender for Thursday's opener against Slovakia.
The bad news for everyone else is that Bylsma wouldn't reveal the identity of that goaltender during today's media session. Greg Wyshynski from Puck Daddy has a suspicion that Team USA will start with Ryan Miller, the unofficial MVP of the U.S. team in 2010 and a guy who's played very well this season under tough circumstances.
Could it be Miller? Absolutely, and it wouldn't be that surprising. But the other guy in the mix happens to be a former playoff MVP in Jonathan Quick, who has been strong in net for Los Angeles since returning from a groin injury.
Once again, NHL.com was on-site for practice and got reaction from the players and coaches following the skate. Here's how Team USA skated on Tuesday in Sochi...
Parise - Backes - Callahan
van Riemsdyk - Pavelski - Kessel
Brown - Stastny - Oshie
Pacioretty - Kesler - Kane
McDonagh - Carlson
Suter - Shattenkirk
Orpik - Martin
Fowler - Faulk
Extras: Derek Stepan, Blake Wheeler (no change from Monday)
- Really interesting note from Corey Masisak of NHL.com, who noted today that offense might not be as big a concern for the Americans and some have suggested: "Kessel is second in the League this season with 31 goals. Pavelski is tied for fourth with 29, and van Riemsdyk checks in tied for 13th with 24. That's 84 goals, and it is more than any other trio that has practiced together in Sochi leading up to the start of the tournament Wednesday."
- More from Masisak's story, which you can read here: Russia's top trio of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Semin has combined for 72 goals. Sidney Crosby's line (Chris Kunitz and Jeff Carter) has 78. The top trio for Canada is actually Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Patrick Marleau, who have combined for 82.
-Sweden's top three goal scorers in the League this season (Alexander Steen, Henrik Zetterberg and Gabriel Landeskog) all skated together Tuesday, but they've produced a total of 62 goals in 2013-14.