Bobby Ryan, Team USA Snub, Calls Brian Burke’s Comments ‘Gutless’ After Exec Questions Winger’s Intensity

Controversy and scrutiny almost always follow national team selections in any sport, but the hockey world’s reaction to Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan‘s omission from the 2014 U.S. men’s Olympic squad goes beyond the usual bubble debate.

Many thought Ryan, a perennial 30-goal scorer and a member of the 2010 team that won silver in Vancouver, would be a lock for Sochi, but the selection committee passed him over in favor of Blake Wheeler, Max Pacioretty and T.J. Oshie, among others.

Ryan made his thoughts on the snub known in a sarcastic tweet Wednesday afternoon:

Ryan offered a much harsher response Thursday, after an article by ESPN’s Scott Burnside detailing the intricacies of the selection process revealed a scathing review given by Team USA director of player personnel Brian Burke.

“I think we have to know what we’re taking with Bobby,” said Burke, who was the Anaheim Ducks’ general manager when they drafted and developed Ryan. “He’s a passive guy. 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.”

Ryan, unsurprisingly, was angry after hearing Burke’s comments, calling them “gutless” and borderline degrading.

A 30-goal scorer in each of his last four full seasons — he tallied 11 in last year’s lockout-shortened campaign — Ryan, who moved north from Anaheim in a July trade, leads the Senators with 18 goals though the first 42 games this season. His 36 points also rank second on the team behind defenseman Erik Karlsson.

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