Keith Yandle Calls Team USA Olympic Snub ‘A Tough Pill to Swallow’

Keith YandlePhoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle was one of the most egregious snubs from the United States men’s hockey roster that will compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Despite Yandle being one of three NHL defensemen to tally 200 or more points over the last three years, and having the perfect skill set for international-size ice, the Team USA brain trust led by general manager David Poile and assistant Ray Shero decided to take a few younger, less experienced offensive defensemen to Sochi, including Washington’s John Carlson and Carolina’s Justin Faulk.

Yandle didn’t hide his frustration Thursday when responding to his omission from the 25-man roster.

In Scott Burnside‘s brilliant behind-the-scenes look at the construction of the U.S. roster at ESPN.com, Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke was one of the major opponents of including Yandle on the team’s blue line.

“I always assume a disaster’s going to happen,” Burke said when describing Yandle. He later added that “if Keith Yandle goes in our top four, I think everyone we play is excited.”

Yandle is aware of the criticism found in Burnside’s article, but he’s ready to put the matter behind him and help the Coyotes get back into a playoff spot.

“I read it,” he said. “[Does it] affect me? No. Obviously people have opinions.”

The 27-year-old defenseman is in the midst of another impressive season with 27 points in 39 games, and even though Yandle didn’t make the final roster cut, there’s still a chance he could play in Sochi if someone on the blue line suffers an injury.

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