ESPN article offers behind-the-scenes look at Bobby Ryan Olympic snub

The U.S. Olympic hockey team roster was announced this past Wednesday at the conclusion of the Winter Classic, and while there weren’t many surprises with some of the names who will appear in Sochi to represent Team USA, one name was notably absent.

Bobby Ryan.

The Ottawa Senators forward was part of the 2010 Olympic team that won Silver when they fell to Canada in overtime. Ryan contributed one goal and one assist during six games in the tournament.

However, Ryan has been incredibly consistent as an NHL pro. He has scored 30 or more goals in four seasons, and tallied 30 points in 46 games during last year’s lockout-shortened season. He currently leads the Senators with 18 goals in 44 games, and is second in points with 36.

Despite his NHL success, and his inclusion on the 2010 team, there was plenty of trepidation about including him on the 2014 team.

Bobby_Ryan-3In a piece written for ESPN, Scott Burnside had unprecedented access to the decision-making process of the U.S. Olympic hockey committee – which included David Poile, the general manager for the U.S. Olympic team, Stan Bowman, Dean Lombardi, Dale Tallon, Ray Shero and Dan Byalsma. Burnside notes in the article how much resistance there is to bringing Bobby Ryan to Russia.

“I think he’s sleepy. I think he skates sleepy,” offers one member of the selection committee.

Throughout the article, more talk of Ryan’s listless play comes up, with Brian Burke, who was general manager of the 2010 U.S. Olympic team and the man who drafted Ryan in Anaheim, stating, “He is not intense. That word is not in his vocabulary. It’s never going to be in his vocabulary. He can’t spell intense.”

Burke goes on to note that Ryan is a skilled forward capable of scoring big goals, but says that if Ryan is not going to be put in a role in which he can score an important goal, use his skills as a sniper, he shouldn’t go.

While Ryan shot back at Burke specifically, saying his comments were “gutless,” and Poile has apologized to Ryan for the comments that were included in the article, the committee ultimately decided to leave Ryan off of the 25-man roster that will be representing the United States at the Sochi games in February.

“I’m not disputing what was said,” Poile said. “These meetings were very intense and very passionate. But for the things that were said against Bobby Ryan there were many, many things that were said positively about Bobby Ryan.”

“It’s been taken totally out of context. You have to realize in this situation for players who made the team, there were critical things said about them, and good things said about them. That’s just the way it goes when you are analyzing.”

The committee ultimately decided to go with players who will provide more all-around value, like James van Riemsdyk and Max Pacioretty, heeding Burke’s thoughts that if Ryan can’t be used efficiently, that he shouldn’t be used at all.

With five weeks remaining until the Olympics, there is still an outside chance that Ryan could play. If another player goes down with an injury, the committee could opt to ask Ryan to join as a replacement. At this point, if that does happen, the committee has to hope that Ryan forgives what was said in passionate debates held behind closed doors in favor of the chance to represent his country.

After all, according to comments made by Poile, Ryan had a spot on Burke’s submission of players who should go to Sochi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *