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Hodgemail: Who's Canada's starting goalie in Sochi?

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TSN.ca Staff
5/14/2012 1:08:19 AM
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When it comes to goaltending, Mike Smith and Braden Holtby have certainly had their share of headlines leading the Phoenix Coyotes and Washington Capitals in goal.

Holtby, just 22 and third on the goalie depth chart to start the season, drew dramatic Dryden-esque comparisons with his playoff performance. Smith, who was placed on re-entry waivers by GM Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning just last year, has been instrumental in getting the Coyotes in the Western Conference Final.

That said, you would think that Yzerman might be wanting Smith back on his side in the near future - not as the starting goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but perhaps as a No. 1 netminder for Canada at the Sochi Olympics. And at 22, does Holtby deserve some consideration?

With less than two years to go before the Games, he may enter the discussion with other Canadian backstoppers like Carey Price, Cam Ward and Olympic holdovers Marc-Andre Fleury and Roberto Luongo.

So here's Dave's question to you: "Assuming there's NHL participation at the Sochi Olympics, who is your current choice as Canada's starting goalie?"

Here are the answers that Dave liked best:

"Imagine Carey Price with a good team in front of him." - John

"Big goalie. No rebounds. I would vote for Smith and so would Chicago and Nashville." - K Larsen

"Unless someone supplants the goalie who won gold the last time, and as yet, no one has earned that right, it's Roberto Luongo again." - Ben

"I'm ready to pick Luongo the minute he gets traded to the Leafs." - James

"Fleury and Claude Giroux would be teammates if both make it, but Fleury won't." - Nick

"I'm all for new blood, as long as Cam Ward is the tried-and-true option in a group of three." - Randy

"Braden Holtby shows poise and maturity beyond his years and he certainly bears watching for Sochi." - Cyril

And Dave's Reply to All:

A year ago, I'm guessing the answer to this question would have been Roberto Luongo - gold-medallist from 2010, the Canadian goalie with the best stats from the 2010-11 NHL season, and lest we forget, a year ago it looked as though Luongo might become a Stanley Cup winner too.

A year later, he's hardly out of the mix but a year later, the best answer, in my opinion, is a guy who wouldn't have been on anyone's list 12 months ago and that's Mike Smith. That should tell us that Canada's next Olympic goalie isn't necessarily on this year's list.
And we do need to see more of Braden Holtby, who wouldn't have been considered a month ago.

Oh, for an automatic choice. Oh, how Canada has been spoiled for close to 20 years by Marty Brodeur. He just turned 40, but maybe somebody should ask what he thinks he'll be doing at 41.

Hodgemail - Canada's No. 1 goalie (Photo: Getty Images)

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(Photo: Getty Images)
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