Ben Bishop is an American professional ice hockey player who currently plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League (NHL). Bishop previously played in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators. Nicknamed "Big Ben," Bishop is the tallest goaltender to ever play in the NHL at 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m).
Bishop played youth hockey for the Kirkwood Stars in suburban St. Louis, as well as for the St. Louis Junior Blues. Bishop attended Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis. Bishop played forward until eight years of age, when he was converted to a goaltender.
Bishop played for the Texas Tornado of North American Hockey League during the 2004–05 season. He appeared in 45 games and posted a league-best record of 35 wins, eight losses, with five shutouts. His goals against average of 1.93 was second in the league. Most notably, he led the Texas Tornado to their second consecutive National Championship and Gold Cup, given to the best junior A hockey team in North America. Bishop was named to the first team of the NAHL All-Rookie Team at the end of the season.
As a freshman for the University of Maine during the 2005–06 season, Bishop finished the regular season with a record of 21 wins, eight loses and two ties, and a 2.28 goals against average. In October 2005 and February 2006, he was awarded Rookie of the Month as well as Goaltender of the Month by Hockey East. He was also named Rookie of the Week four separate times. Bishop led the Black Bears to the 2006 Frozen Four, losing to the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the semi-finals, despite playing strongly. He led the Black Bears to the Frozen Four once again in 2007, but lost to Michigan State University in the semi-finals 4–2. As a junior in the 2007–08 NCAA Men's Division I hockey competition, he had a stellar season, as he posted a 2.43 GAA with a .920 save percentage.
Bishop was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the third round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, 85th overall and became one of their top prospects. It was announced on March 11, 2008, that he had signed with the St. Louis Blues, and he played with the Peoria Rivermen, the Blues' top American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, for the remainder of that season.
On October 24, 2008, Bishop made his NHL debut, coming off the bench in relief of the injured Manny Legace to start the second period, giving up two goals over the final 40 minutes in a 4–0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.(Legace had tripped on the carpet that was laid out for Vice-Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, who dropped the ceremonial first puck.)Bishop ultimately appeared in six games with the Blues in 2008–09 and was the back-up goalie for all four of the team's playoff games that season.
On February 26, 2012, Bishop was traded to the Ottawa Senators for a second-round draft pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. A kitchen accident resulted in Senators' starting goalie Craig Anderson being injured indefinitely with a hand laceration, a situation that may have hastened Bishop's move to Ottawa. At the time of the trade, Bishop was the AHL's top goaltender with a 24–14–0 record, a 2.26 goals against average, a 0.928 save percentage and a league-leading six shutouts through 38 games. Bishop made his Senators debut against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 6, 2012, a game Ottawa won 7–3. He earned his second win in as many starts in a 4–1 win over the New York Rangers. He would finish the season with a 3–3–2 record and 2.48 GAA in ten games played with Ottawa.
Due to the 2012–13 NHL lockout, Bishop began the season in the AHL with the Binghamton Senators, where he posted an 8–3–2 record and 2.59 GAA in 13 games. Once the lockout was resolved, he was called up to Ottawa to serve as backup to Craig Anderson. His first game of the NHL season was less than memorable for Bishop, as he surrendered five goals on 30 shots in a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. His play improved, however, as he was named the NHL's third star of the week on February 25, 2013, after posting a 2.03 goals-against average and .931 save percentage, as Ottawa won all four of its games.
On April 3, 2013, Bishop was dealt at the 2012–13 trade deadline by the Senators to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Cory Conacher and a fourth-round draft pick. On April 15, Bishop signed a two-year, $4.6 million extension with the Lightning. Bishop set a career high and Tampa Bay franchise record on January 19, 2014, by making 48 saves in a victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
During the 2013–14 season, Bishop was named the starting goaltender for Tampa Bay over Anders Lindbäck. Bishop posted a 37–14–7 record last in the 63 games played that season. He also recorded a .924 save percentage and a 2.23 goals-against average. Bishop was ranked fourth in games played, as well as seventh in save percentage and goals-against. Bishop posted five shutouts, which was the second-most in Lightning history. Bishop also set single season records for wins, save percentage and goals-against average. He recorded the second most saves in Lightning history with 1,625. Bishop was nominated for the Vezina Trophy – NHL's top goaltender – for the season due to his stellar play in net, though he ultimately finished third in voting.
On August 2, 2014, the Lightning announced that Bishop's contract had been extended for two years. On March 30, 2015, Bishop became the first Lightning goalie to record two assists in one game. On April 4, 2015, Bishop gained his 38th win of the season in a 4-0 shutout of the Florida Panthers, which was a personal best and beat the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise record he set the previous season.
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