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PHT Morning Skate: Poile stands by U.S. Olympic roster decisions

Feb 25, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

David Poile, general manager of the U.S. hockey team and of theNashville Predators, speaks to reporters Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn., for first time since taking an errant puck to the face Feb. 6. His injuries kept him from traveling to Sochi, and he says he currently cannot see out if his right eye. (AP Photo/Teresa Walker) AP

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

U.S. GM David Poile doesn’t regret the team he assembled for the 2014 Winter Olympics despite its fourth place finish. (The Tennessean)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday night’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Bryan Bickell has struggled with the Chicago Blackhawks this season, but the Olympic break seems to have done him some good. (CSN Chicago)

Mike Hoffman, 24, has been summoned by Ottawa for the third time in the last two seasons. Senators coach Paul MacLean is optimistic about his chances of being ready this time around, given that Hoffman ranks second in the AHL scoring race. (Ottawa Citizen)

Marty Erat has been playing a lot more lately with Washington, but Capitals GM George McPhee doesn’t think Erat will withdraw his trade request. (CSN Washington)

The New York Islanders have promoted forwards Mike Halmo, Anders Lee and Ryan Strome. With John Tavares done for the season and Thomas Vanek likely to be traded, the Islanders’ young players will probably get a fair amount of playing time. (

Although there’s next to no chance of it happening, the Calgary Flames haven’t given up on making the playoffs. (Calgary Sun)

  1. bcisleman - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Used to think Poile was smart. Not only was naming Parise over Okposo the wrong decision, it was easy to see that it was beforehand.

    Parise was having an off year while Okposo was having a career year. Have to believe Kyle would’ve done better than 1-0-1 and even one more goal in the semi-final would’ve been key.

    • thecheeman - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      lol assume this is a joke?

      even if you think Okposo should have been on the team (let’s see how he does without Tavares) why would it have been over Parise?

    • strictlythedanks - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      bcisle you are a complete moron. Brown was the worst player along with Kane. There were many others that Parise outplayed as well. Your probably a bitter devils fan.

    • 19inarow - Feb 25, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      The Americans’ offense dried up.

      I really don’t think that Parise should’ve been left off, in favor of Okposo (or Ryan, for that matter), but leaving off the second leading American born scorer (Okposo’s not far behind Kane) was flat-out wrong. The reason Poile gave was that Okposo doesn’t know how to play on the larger ice, which is BS, because he excelled there during college. He’s tough, he’s a leader, and he always provides a spark, both on the ice and in the locker room.

      Poile knows how to build defense, but evidently not offense, based on all his years with Nashville.

      Most non-Isles fans obviously know very little about Kyle Okposo, and prefer not to.

  2. chicagobtech - Feb 25, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    I don’t think the issue was Poile, I think it was Bylsma. I will admit, I was a little surprised to not see Quinnville behind the bench. He holds US Citizenship now, he has since 2011 (which should be long enough to get the change in status). He’s had more success than Bylsma, and his successes have been more recent than Blysma’s.

    • c9castine - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      I’m sure wed rather have a US born and bred coach in there than one who simply has citizenship now.

      Bylsma is the winningest coach in hockey since he stepped behind an NHL bench. That includes a Stanley Cup, and a Jack Adams.

      If your going to say you think he was the issue, it would ne nice if you came up with some real reasons. And please don’t say “he told the players not to pressure the puck” or the famous “he didn’t make adjustments”. Both of those are BS and have no substance to them.

      • chicagobtech - Feb 25, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        You can speak for yourself. Me? I wanted both US teams to have won gold. If USA Hockey management decided to go with a coach that was born here rather than one who naturalized then they were short-sighted. Or they let their pride color their vision. That pride could have meant the difference between slugging it out for gold, or losing 5-0 in the bronze match.

        Was Blysma the fastest head coach to 200 wins? Yes.
        Did he win himself the Jack Adams for the 2010-11 season for keeping the Pens relevant without their star players? Yes.
        Did he win the Stanley Cup with the Pens? Yes.
        What is his record as a head coach (disregarding this season, due to the asymmetrical nature of hockey schedules)? 201-93-25 (427 points) in the regular season, 36-29 post-season with one Stanley Cup win. It’s good, it’s really good.

        What are Coach Quenneville’s numbers since Blysma became the Pens’ HC? 192-93-37 (421 points) in the regular season, 46-29 in the post-season with two Stanley Cup wins. Same number of losses, with wins shifted around slightly. As far as I’m concerned, better numbers.

        No, I think the biggest reason is the one you don’t like: the inflexibility of the US system. Blysma hardly changed anything. Maybe it’s because I watch the Blackhawks, because I see Coach Quenneville change lines when things aren’t working, so I know there’s value in changing the matchups. I didn’t see much of that in the USA/Canada match. Eddie Olczyk pointed that out in the game, but again that may be because Eddie calls games for the Blackhawks and knows its value.

      • c9castine - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:33 PM

        i was trying to follow you. i even got over your shoddy math in the first paragraph (the one where you think better numbers come from having less wins.) i get what your saying, you put more weight on the playoffs. ok.

        and then you got all blackhawk homer on me.

        plenty of american talent to choose from coaching wise. i went into the olympics knowing that if we lost, didn’t matter how or when, Bylsma was GOING to be the scapegoat.

        maybe its because I’m from pittsburgh and I’m used to the criticism this team takes from the outside, but I’m not sure why this is even a conversation.

    • mikebel11 - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      I don’t think there was an issue. I think the U.S had the fourth best team in the tournament from the outset. They got off to a hot start playing teams either with KHL calibre defence (Slovakia, Slovenia and Czech Republic) or no desire to play defence (Russia). The media made a huge deal about it because it’s the Olympics and 75% of the media covering hockey has never even watched hockey and the other 25% were gauging the strength of teams on history instead of actually watching the current teams to see that Slovakia, Czech Republic and Russia were all very poor teams. As soon as the US came up against teams that actually had NHL defencemen and two of the worlds top 5 goaltenders, they got beat. Sweden, Finland and Canada were simply better teams. That was pretty obvious to anyone who knows hockey.

      • c9castine - Feb 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

        the russians weren’t a poor team but in a general way, i agree. the bronze medal game unfortunately was all on the players not trying. hard to even critique that game other than that.

        it comes down to losing 1-0 to canada. we didn’t play very well but it wasn’t a blowout. 37-31 in shots and 1-0 on the scoreboard against quite possibly the best team ever assembled.

        we are we blaming anybody but the players for not giving 100% thats all. nobody on the team sucked, the coaches and GMs didn’t do the wrong thing. when it came down to it, just didn’t get the job done thats all. it happens in sport.

      • imgoingtowichita - Feb 25, 2014 at 7:11 PM

        I can’t thumb-up more than once mike but well thought out reply. It became obvious to me during the quarter final of the Czech – Slovakia game when after two the Slovaks appeared done. Hosea put the team on his back and the first 15 minutes of the third had the ice tilted. It showed the lack of defense CR was playing and the contrast after watching the three Canadian games up to that point the stifling, constricting all out defensive effort from the Canadians. It helped feed the media into perhaps over-hyping the American offensive attack.
        I disagree with saying that they were the fourth best team though. I think any of Sweden, Finland or the US could have gotten to the gold medal game if brackets were different (ex. Canada beats Finland in round robin they are first seed and wouldn’t face US until potential gold medal game.

    • pastabelly - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:51 PM

      Bylsma’s most recent track record in the playoffs and Olympics = not so good.

      If you want to start listing American coaches with Stanley Cup wins, then that qualifies Tortorella as well. His act might actually wear well on a team in the short time period of an Olympics event. That team came out with nothing in the medal game.

  3. stcrowe - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    I really don’t think that Poile should be faulted. Until the games against Canada and Finland, Team USA looked great, and none of the players looked like a bad choice.

    You can argue for guys like Bobby Ryan, Jack Johnson, etc. being better choices, but nobody in the lineup embarrassed himself until the bronze medal game. By that point, one or two players would not have made a difference.

  4. vgraziano - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    That pic-priceless…..

  5. sportsfaninyyc - Feb 25, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Canada could have had a second team in the Olympics that would have beaten the U.S.

    • thesublimeylimey - Feb 26, 2014 at 6:31 AM

      No they couldn’t.

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