Skip to content

Sochi Snubs: Ryan heads list of U.S. Olympic omissions

Jan 1, 2014, 5:02 PM EST

BobbyRyan Getty Images

Shortly after USA Hockey announced the players heading to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics, a new discussion began — on who wasn’t going.

Ottawa forward Bobby Ryan, a silver medalist with Team USA at the 2010 games in Vancouver, and a pair of defensemen — ’10 silver medalists Jack Johnson and Erik Johnson — were left off, along with Kyle Okposo, the NHL’s second-leading American scorer this season, and Dustin Byfuglien, the top American d-man scorer.

Ryan, though, is the biggest and most high-profile omission.

The 26-year-old is a four-time 30-goal scorer and, as mentioned above, represented the U.S. at the Vancouver games, scoring two points in six conests. He’s also the fifth-leading American scoring forward this season and leads Ottawa in goals, with 18.

Ryan missing the cut shouldn’t come as a massive surprise, however. USA Today’s Kevin Allen – granted access to some of USA Hockey’s selection committee meetings — floated the idea in a recent piece where he made his own roster picks:

The most difficult decision was leaving off Bobby Ryan (Ottawa Senators). He might be en route to his fifth 30-goal season. His hands are exceptional. But the Americans are deep on the wing, and other players have more to offer.

Ryan is not a skater, nor a defensive zealot. [Jets forward Blake] Wheeler was my pick over Ryan because of his speed, size and reach. All are important on the wider surface.

Ryan also represented Team USA at the ’12 World Championships — a team that featured another snub, Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson.

Johnson, who has been a loyal soldier for the U.S. internationally — playing at numerous World Championships, captaining the ’12 team — won’t be going to Sochi. The 26-year-old currently leads all Blue Jackets skaters in TOI per game (23:18) but has struggled in other facets this year, recording just 11 points in 40 games with a minus-10 rating.

Another Johnson, Erik, will also miss out on Sochi after serving in Vancouver four years ago. The Colorado defenseman is having a strong campaign (17 points in 39 games, averaging 22:32 per night), repped the U.S. at the ’13 Worlds and believes he’s playing some of the best hockey of his career.

It’s worth noting the Johnsons are the only two omissions that played in Vancouver and got invited to this summer’s orientation camp.

As for other notable snubs…

Keith Yandle

Despite sitting third among all American defenseman in points (27), Yandle was bypassed. The development will be a disappointment for the 27-year-old rearguard, who told the Arizona Republic he liked his chances of making the team.

“I think I’ve given myself the best opportunity,” Yandle said. “I thought I’ve played well. I showed what I can bring to the team.”

Kyle Okposo

Okposo trails only Patrick Kane in scoring by American forwards — 14 goals, 40 points in 41 games — and is a veteran of the international game, having represented Team USA on a number of occasions at the Worlds.

Recently, Isles head coach Jack Capuano talked up Okposo for the Olympic team.

“His numbers are real good, but more importantly, this is a guy who’s been a leader wherever he’s been,” Capuano told Newsday. “He’s a high-character guy and those are important ingredients when you’re putting a team together like the Olympic team.”

Dustin Byfuglien

The big-bodied Winnipeg rearguard (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) brings a unique skill set, able to play both forward and defense. He’s also a versatile weapon on the power play. No American defenseman has more points this season (29), but Byfuglien also has a minus-11 rating and there are questions about his defensive game skating ability on international ice.

Others…

— Minnesota’s Jason Pominville sits fourth among American forwards with 17 goals, but didn’t make the cut. It’s worth noting Pominville wasn’t even invited to this summer’s camp, getting passed over in favor of the likes of Trevor Lewis and Nick Bjugstad.

— Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, who has the best stats of any American goalie this season, was bypassed in favor of Jonathan Quick, Ryan Miller and Jimmy Howard.

— None of the kiddie corps floated as potential roster players (Seth Jones, Alex Galchenyuk, Brandon Saad) made the team.

Latest Posts
  1. Burgled: Sens’ Hammond shuts out Kings

    Feb 27, 2015, 1:16 AM EST

    Andrew Hammond AP

    His shutout streak is now at 172:22.

  2. Wild get important win vs. Preds (and some luck, too)

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:31 PM EST

    Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle,Jared Spurgeon,Ryan Carter, Marco Scandella AP

    Nino Niederreiter combined skill and good fortune to help his team win.

  3. Kings place Martinez on IR

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:06 PM EST

    Alec Martinez AP

    Making room for Andrej Sekera.

  4. Video: Predators, Wild exchange high-skill goals

    Feb 26, 2015, 10:30 PM EST

    Craig Smith, Mike Fisher AP

    Nice work from Craig Smith and Nino Niederreiter, respectively.

  5. Bowman: Blackhawks are ‘pretty close’ to making a trade

    Feb 26, 2015, 10:17 PM EST

    Stan Bowman AP

    The possibilities are extensive, it seems.

  6. Mason returns to Flyers fold early as Zepp gets the hook

    Feb 26, 2015, 8:52 PM EST

    Steve Mason Steve Mason

    Two goals on eight shots was enough to inspire a change.

  7. Clarkson is glad to hit ‘reset button’ in Columbus

    Feb 26, 2015, 8:37 PM EST

    David Clarkson AP

    He doesn’t regret signing with Toronto, though he’s welcoming the change.

  8. WATCH LIVE: Wild at Predators on NBCSN

    Feb 26, 2015, 8:00 PM EST

    Nashville Predators v Minnesota Wild Getty Images

    Minnesota needs this against one of the West’s best.

  9. Firing talk doesn’t bother Bruins’ Julien

    Feb 26, 2015, 7:39 PM EST

    Boston Bruins v Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

    In other news, it appears as though David Krejci is on LTIR.

  10. Report: NHL investigated alleged Clutterbuck spit on Sedin

    Feb 26, 2015, 6:32 PM EST

    New York Rangers v New York Islanders New York Rangers v New York Islanders

    Canucks requested the league take a closer look, but no evidence was found.

  11. Blackhawks deny rumors of locker room fight

    Feb 26, 2015, 6:18 PM EST

    Ottawa Senators v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    Head coach Joel Quenneville said it’s “all news to me.”

  12. Trade: Leafs re-acquire Brennan, send Abbott to ‘Hawks

    Feb 26, 2015, 5:30 PM EST

    Toronto Marlies Getty Images

    A familiar face goes back to the Toronto organization.

  13. Panthers acquire Jagr from Devils

    Feb 26, 2015, 4:39 PM EST

    Jaromir Jagr Sightings In Prague Getty Images

    Bold move from Florida GM Dale Tallon.

  14. Kings to unveil Luc Robitaille statue outside Staples

    Feb 26, 2015, 4:31 PM EST

    2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final – Game Six Getty Images

    Joining the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Chick Hearn and Oscar De La Hoya.

  15. Welcome back: Blues re-acquire Cracknell from Columbus

    Feb 26, 2015, 4:06 PM EST

    Florida Panthers v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

    Former “CPR Line” line member is headed back to St. Louis.

Featured video

Trade deadline storylines to watch
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Krejci (2478)
  2. T. Hall (2148)
  3. B. Wheeler (2133)
  4. R. Nash (1996)
  5. D. Dubnyk (1852)