Announcements were made yesterday regarding roster cuts for the US Men’s Hockey team for the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics. Among some of the most notable players who won’t be heading to Russia this February are Jack Johnson, Erik Johnson, Kyle Okposo and Bobby Ryan. As upsetting as it may be for these players to miss out on a chance to represent their country, Ryan has a little more reason to be irked.
The Ottawa Senators forward was victim of a pretty degrading assessment from director of player personnel for the national team, Brian Burke, who very candidly questioned Ryan’s intensity.
“He is not intense. That word is not in his vocabulary,” Burke said. “It’s never going to be in his vocabulary. He can’t spell intense.”
Yikes. There’s beating around the bush, and then there’s an evaluation like this. Believe it or not, Ryan heard these remarks, and isn’t exactly to psyched about it.
“Actually I almost feel degraded when it comes out like that,” Ryan said. He went on to call Burke “gutless.”
Can you blame Ryan for being upset? More importantly, is it really necessary for Burke to cut that deeply when asked why Ryan won’t be on the roster this year? How hard is it to just say “we have a lot of talented players who came to tryout, and unfortunately we had to make some difficult cuts”? Done. End of story. Unfortunately, Burke decided to call out Ryan’s dedication to the game, as if not making the Olympic team wasn’t bad enough to hear.
Ryan’s cut is indeed a surprise, too. He’s scored more than 30 goals in four of his last five seasons, and is having quite a solid year so far with Ottawa. He has 18 goals and 36 points in his first season with the Senators, and has been one of the bright spots for a team still struggling to win consistently.
That said, if there’s anyone who can benefit from Burke dragging Ryan across the coals, it’s the Senators. What better way to respond to someone questioning your intensity than playing harder than ever? If Ryan indeed starts going on a tear, it could go a long way towards Ottawa stringing together a lot of wins.