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Poile on U.S. Olympic team: ‘We expect to win’

Jan 1, 2014, 7:54 PM EDT

poilegetty Getty Images

When it comes to assembling the roster for a hockey-rich country like the United States, there are going to be notable omissions. American (and Nashville Predators GM) David Poile discussed the selection process after the 2014 Winter Classic on Wednesday … and also made a confident prediction.

“We expect to win,” Poile said.

He said that he “couldn’t be happier” with the roster they assembled.

Poile explained that talent wasn’t the lone consideration for inclusion on the roster. Instead, it seemed to come down to finding the right fits.

“We did not pick the best 25 (U.S.) players,” Poile said. “We picked the best players that we felt gave us a chance to compete for a gold medal.”

Even so, many wonder why Bobby Ryan wasn’t named to the team. After all, at 26, he already has four 30+ goal seasons to his name.

“Bobby’s a fabulous player,” Poile said. “I love him. I’d love him for my own team.”

(Just not to his Olympic team.)

Poile noted that goalies Ben Bishop, Cory Schneider and Tim Thomas were tough omissions. The list of skaters he considered was rather large, with Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Dustin Byfuglien, Seth Jones, Keith Yandle, Kyle Okposo, Jason Pominville, Brandon Dubinsky, Justin Abdelkader and Ryan earning mentions.

The best news for Ryan and other “snubs” might be that they could be an injury or two away from making the team, after all.

For an even deeper look at the process for Poile and the rest of the American brain trust, check out this in-depth piece by Scott Burnside of ESPN.

  1. jimw81 - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    is he talking about the bronze medal? it’s a good team with speed but they arent built to beat Canada nor Russia.

    • killerpgh - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:59 PM

      Time will time. It’s only a team on paper so who knows how any of the teams will actually play as a team together. I personally like the team they built. It’s not always about taking the most skilled players and just putting them on the roster. Sidney Crosby was left off Team Canadian in the 2006 Olympics.

    • lowenni - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:02 PM

      Hockeys a game of bounces. Anything could happen, they came within one goal of beating Canada in 2010. They have the league’s second best point-getter in Patrick Kane, and they’ll be better at shutting down teams than any other in the tournament. You can’t just look at the biggest names in hockey and say “them, they’re gonna win.”

      • joey4id - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:41 PM

        Indeed. We saw a lot of bounces today.

    • gocaps8 - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:46 PM

      I think the U.S. matches up well with Russia. Better D, better goaltending and certainly depth in goal.

    • tdrusher225 - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:09 PM

      Not many thought they were “built to beat Canada” in 2010 and they beat them once and came as close a team can get to winning the Gold Medal. It’s not about assembling the best collection of talent, because Canada will win that battle no matter which way you slice it. It’s about putting together the right team that fits the style of game Poile wants his guys to play. If there’s anything 1980 and, to a much lesser degree, 2010 can teach us is that you should never doubt an Olympic team’s chances solely based on talent.

    • blomfeld - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      *** Medal Predictions as per Wolfgang Meyer @ Der Spiegel Sport ***

      1) U.S.A.
      2) Sweden
      3) Finland
      4) Switzerland
      5) Czech Republic
      6) Canada
      7) Russia
      8) Norway

      note: in addition to being a personal friend of mine, Wolfgang Meyer is an accomplished publisher and an expert in ‘advanced’ probability theory … he’s currently lecturing at the People’s Technical University in Magdeburg …

      • rbbbaron - Jan 2, 2014 at 7:47 AM

        Generating such a prediction without knowing the rosters for nearly all those teams listed– not something I’d put my money on. Is this the result of a model he’s using? Or (more likely) just winging it?

      • blomfeld - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        Baron – I suspect that Meyer has employed some of his ‘advanced’ probability theories in-order to come up with these predictions ? … though don’t ask me to get into specifics, as I couldn’t even begin to explain how that stuff works … nonetheless, I do know that Meyer knows what he’s talking about … two years ago on this very day, both he and Josef Stransky postulated that the LA Kings would win the Stanley Cup that year and of course we all know what went on to happen that spring eh ? … :)

    • c9castine - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:55 AM

      ill be surprised if russia plays in a medal game and the US played a hell of a game against canada in 2010 and have progressed since then. i wouldn’t count them out of a gold discussion at all.

    • pfhockey - Jan 2, 2014 at 2:12 AM

      1980 had a bunch of young players in it. Gold.

    • cofran2004 - Jan 2, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      Really?? I got the opposite impression. They’re quick so they can take advantage of mistakes, but almost everyone is responsible defensively, so you won’t see any egregious defensive zone play. They could have fielded a skilled team like Canada, but made the conscious decision not to. I’m pretty pleased with their decisions.

    • brockohol - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      Russia? Um…I know that there are some good players over in the KHL that we probably are not aware of to round out the bottom 6 forwards 5/6 D, but there is a significant difference between those fools and the US bottom half. However, Im sure the Rooskies will pull some crap with the refs so who knows whats going to happen over there. Look up Russian players on NHL.com, pretty slim pickins once you get outside the top 4 players

      Canada is in its own world with depth. Canada team 1 and 2 would both compete for gold

      Personally think CAN, US, SWE are the top three teams with Russia, Fin, Czech behind them.

  2. vbcaps - Jan 1, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    I don’t think they will win gold but i wouldn’t be surprised if they go all the way to gold metal game.

    Is Russia’s D and tending enough on home soil? Does Canada repeat? Can’t count out the sweeds…can’t wait !

  3. esracerx46 - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Blake freakin Wheeler….really?!

    • 950003cups - Jan 2, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      of all the surprises, I like his addition of Blake Wheeler. He’ll do well there. Many other surprise names I don’t believe in as much.

  4. 13yrsmlbvet - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    Poile screwed up that roster. Not a medal winning group.

  5. gocaps8 - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    I think this U.S. team is right in the mix, certainly can compete with Russia given their lack of D.

    I’d see Canada and Sweden as more talented, but the gap has closed to the point where if the U.S. gets a couple breaks they’ve got a shot.

  6. muckleflugga - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    the yanks have us cold…

    we match up on forward…maybe…they kill us on defence and in net…they were better than us in vancouver,…clearly superior in the gold medal game…

    russians are primed…playing at home…i wouldn’t bet a nickel against them…they will win gold…book it…

    swedes too are lethal on big ice…swiss are a wild card that will have us crying in our beer if we take them lightly

    in the moment, i don’t see or feel gold medal confidence from babcock or yzerman…they’ll be glad to make the medal round

    hope to get lucky [ have you got mcreary's number ]

    • joey4id - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      Why even reference how they played in 2010? Both teams will be very different than what they were 4 years ago.

  7. themagicfanguy - Jan 1, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    I just don’t see how Bishop isn’t a “fit”.

  8. pavelfitzgerald - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    Muckle, it sounds as though you’re saying the American defence is better then the Canadians & I simply don’t see it. More then able to concede that the Yanks have the best goaltending though.

  9. 19to77 - Jan 1, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    Oh, I’m sure you will, David. Bronze, or maybe even silver if Miller carries you on his back again. But gold? Dream on.

    • itsallniceonice - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:11 AM

      Tough talk from a weakening Canadian roster.

      • 19to77 - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:29 AM

        A touch thinner at defense than last time, perhaps, that’s fair enough. But take a glance at our probable forwards. 10 of the top 20 in NHL scoring, 2-3 of those won’t even make the roster. If anything, Canada’s deeper t forward than last time. What exactly does any other nation intend to do to defend against that? I don’t want to come off as arrogant – seriously, America and Sweden have GREAT rosters and I look forward to world-class battles with these truly excellent opponents – but how does anyone expect to anyone counter that sheer firepower?

      • itsallniceonice - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:40 AM

        Don’t forget about goaltending. A potent offense sure but when haven’t they? Many other nations seem to be getting better and better while Canada seems stagnant (mind you they are stagnantly fantastic). No one is intimidated and they will all bring it. Wouldn’t be shocked if the US got bronze, or gold. The fun will be in watching and seeing.

  10. muckleflugga - Jan 1, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    pavelfitzgerald

    fair dues…but for big ice, i see need for fast puck controlling defence man able to trigger the one pass out under pressure…fast to get there…quick to wheel and deliver

    transition is everything in games against teams breaking for open ice on any hint of a positive puck win…the europeans are raised on that kind of hockey…even the swiss are a threat on big ice

    short of pk subban and maybe drew doughty, nobody in canada jumps off the page…throw out orpik [ please ] and the americans crawl with those kind of defence men

  11. jimw81 - Jan 2, 2014 at 4:43 AM

    Interesting thing from the burnside article, when homer told the committee that saad is better than wheeler and yandle is better than Martin/orpik it got ignore By someone. This roster has Shero/polie/byslma hands written over it.

    When u create a Olympic roster it’s supposed to have best 25 players on it but most of them aren’t on this USA team. Bronze medal here we come.

  12. jacketsfan7 - Jan 2, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    Why…why Justin faulk and not Jack Johnson…ik I’m biased but that’s a dumbass move poile

  13. montrealbbr - Jan 2, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    Canada will win this handily.

    • badgerhockey77 - Jan 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      Yes yes…just like Canada wins every game handily right? Heck…you guys beat everyone 10-0! Oh wait…

  14. endusersolutions2013 - Jan 2, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    I am personally dumbfounded on the inclusion of Dustin cheap shot Brown (13 points) over both Pominville (27 points and one of Brown intentional head shot victims), and Saad (Calder cup finalist last year, 30 points this year, very good 2 way player – physical yet actually plays cleanly).

    Howard over Bishop is also a had scratch. Apparently excellent and more consistent results THIS year are less important than pre-season thinking.

  15. dolphincult - Jan 3, 2014 at 1:32 AM

    I hope the Americans get smoked just cuz Brian Burke is such a loud mouth A-hole and I cant wait to hear him rip into the team he helped pick cuz that is his style. That and the fact Poile didn’t have the testicular fortitude to pick Bishop over Howard

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