Tim Thomas wants another shot at Olympic gold.
The 39-year-old netminder was a member of the U.S. national team that fell to Canada in the gold medal game in 2010, though he saw just a few short minutes of ice time in the tournament.
Team USA is expected to narrow down its roster for the 2014 Sochi Games by the end of December, and Thomas said Monday that he hopes to be on it.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” Thomas told the Sun Sentinel. “Yeah, it’s one of the major factors. I only got to play [part of one period] against Finland [at the 2010 Olympics]. But the whole experience was awesome. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing or not in the Olympics you want to be a part of it, and I’d love to be a part of it again.”
Thomas has his work cut out for him if he wants to earn the chance to wear the red, white and blue again, but midway through November, the field of candidates appears to be wide open.
Buffalo’s Ryan Miller and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick — 2010′s starter and third-stringer, respectively — were once thought to be near locks to make the 2014 squad. But Quick has been hobbled by a groin injury, and Miller has struggled playing behind a terrible Sabres team, creating an opportunity for some new blood to creep up the depth chart. Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop has emerged as a dark horse candidate, having compiled a 13-2-0 record with a 2.11 goals against average for the Eastern Conference-leading Lightning this season.
Thomas was not invited to the U.S. Olympic orientation camp as he was still in retirement at the time, but Team USA general manager David Piole said that the veteran will still be given consideration for a roster spot if he is deserving. The Sun Sentinel also points out that Thomas’ current GM with the Panthers, Dale Tallon, is a member of the U.S. selection committee.
“We have a lot of good options,” Poile told the Sun Sentinel last month. “We didn’t know Timmy’s situation then but he’s in the program and if he’s one of the best three goalies, he’s going to Sochi.”