It didn’t take long for USA Hockey to do damage control, as the Olympic team’s general manager spoke out just two days after the roster announcement made waves.
David Poile held a Friday morning conference call, much of which was spent discussing Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan‘s omission from Team USA’s roster. The winger was one of the most notable snubs and has become something of a sympathetic figure since the roster was revealed Wednesday afternoon after the NHL Winter Classic.
Much of the sympathy surrounding Ryan comes from an ESPN.com piece that detailed the behind-the-scenes process in which the team was selected. Scott Burnside was granted unprecedented access to board meetings, and arguably the juiciest bit from his piece came in Calgary Flames president Brian Burke‘s assessment of Ryan. Burke, Team USA’s director of player personnel, questioned Ryan’s desire.
“He’s a passive guy,” Burke said. “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.”
“I’m trying right now, if I can, to apologize to Bobby Ryan,” the Nashville Predators general manager said, according to the Ottawa Sun. “If that was said about me or one of my players, I would be very upset with this. I apologize as much as I can.
“I’m big on [growing the game]. As far as anything to denigrate any player, that is not what any of us signed up for. None of us signed up for. This was just a little bit too much.
“For the umpteenth time, I totally apologize to Bobby Ryan on behalf of our staff and Brian Burke, who was absolutely the biggest supporter of Bobby Ryan on our staff. Nowhere does that show that. It’s just unfortunate.”
Poile added that there was some confusion or misunderstanding about what the nature of Burnside’s story would be. It probably goes without saying that Poile means he didn’t know everything said in those usually confidential meetings would be written. Poile also said he believed USA Hockey would have editorial input on Burnside’s piece.
“Unfortunately the comments were a little harsh,” Poile added, according to the Sun. “The problem, and the communication breakdown that we had, was we thought this was similar to [the] HBO 24/7 situation where we had editorial review on what was going to be said. It caught all of us off guard.
“That’s on us. It’s a little bit of a breakdown.”
Ryan, whom Burke and the Anaheim Ducks selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2005 NHL draft, is enjoying another solid season. Ryan has 18 goals and 18 assists in 43 games with the Senators this season, his first in Ottawa after Anaheim traded him there.
Photo via Twitter/@Senators