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Embarrassment of Riches for Team USA and Canada

The storyline of this year’s U.S. and Canadian Men’s ice hockey teams wasn’t who made the team. It’s who didn’t.

The most notable omission for Team USA was Ottawa’s second leading point producer, Bobby Ryan. The reason for Ryan’s omission is beyond my grasp but it was summed up by Brian Burke, Team USA’s Director of Player Personnel when he stated, “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.

For a guy as talented as Bobby Ryan, it’s difficult to conceive how a guy that talented who consistently produces near the top of the NHL every year can be regarded with a lack of intensity. Along with his intensity, his average skating ability factored into the decision to not be chosen for Team USA; However there’s no denying that his skill level ranks among the best of the NHL. Other notable omissions were Keith Yandle, Jack and Eric Johnson, and goaltenders Cory Schneider and Ben Bishop.

Team Canada’s most notable omission was 38 year old veteran Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and like the exclusion of Bobby Ryan, the management decision was very personal. The man who had the final decision to exclude last year’s Art Ross trophy winner was Team Canada’s executive director Steve Yzerman. He’s also the General Manager of the team Martin St. Louis plays for, the Tampa Bay Lightning. One could only imagine what circumstances will develop and circulate around St Louis and the Tampa Bay management.

 If asked if Yzerman was worried about St Louis and his frustration on not making the team he stated, “I’m very concerned. I didn’t take this lightly. Believe me. This was not easy.”

We know that St. Louis and Yzerman’s relationship may be headed toward its demise, but how will Yzerman’s decision affect the Tampa Bay franchise as a whole? How will it affect the play of St. Louis?

Tampa Bay’s head coach Jon Cooper summed it up brilliantly when he claimed, “Knowing what Marty has dealt with his whole career, this will motivate the snot out of him.” Yes, St. Louis is a consummate professional in every sense of the word and has dealt with the adversity his small stature has brought throughout his whole career. No need to worry Tampa Bay fans, but although bitter, he will do everything in his power to help Tampa relive their 2004 Stanley Cup championship.

Other notable exclusions were James Neal, Claude Giroux, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, and Jarome Iginla.

Some say that if the omissions from the U.S. and Canada were to form a union and take a team to Sochi they may be able to oust the two North American squads that were selected. We may never know but we can rest assured that considering how deep the North American talent pool is, both the U.S. and Canada will be vying for gold for years to come. 


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