USA Hockey unveiled its 2014 Olympic roster after the Winter Classic on a snowy Sunday afternoon at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While most of the usual suspects were on the team, as always a few surprises were left off. You can say all you want about Bobby Ryan and Keith Yandle. They deserve to be there more than a couple who were picked in their spots but one name that didn’t get called that really upsets me is a New York Islander.
The St. Paul, Minnesota native is a having a phenomenal first half of an NHL campaign. He has combined for 9 points in his past five games; scoring two game winning goals despite the Islanders in general having a very poor outlook. All said and done, he’s sitting at 40 points and is well ahead of a few that made the team.
David Poile’s explanation is that Okposo wasn’t made for big ice. Well, most of the American and Canadian players weren’t made for big ice to begin with. Most never trained on it growing up. Well, Mr. Poile, you can’t give me that excuse. Okposo played on an Olympic size sheet of ice at the University of Minnesota and proved to be exceptional. Damn shame.
Another player that I think deserves a shot at Olympic…..well maybe not a medal but Olympic experience is Tampa Bay’s goaltender Ben Bishop. I saw Bishop play live a few times while he was in Ottawa and he is remarkable. His huge frame takes up most of the net and is decisive to what Team USA is going to face in Sochi. He’s second in the NHL for save percentage. Jonathan Quick is ranked 24th and Jimmy Howard doesn’t even place in the top thirty.
Something’s wrong with this picture. I think we need to stop focusing on who has “Olympic experience” as a means to be able to choose them to an international team. Yes it’s great that they’ve been here before but how is anybody else going to be able to get a shot if they’re never chosen?
Anyway, good luck in Sochi Team USA. You’re going to need it.