And so, the fire extinguishing begins.
In the wake of Wednesday’s Team USA Olympic roster announcement — and the salacious behind-the-scenes selection committee piece on ESPN — American GM David Poile is trying to douse the flames of Brian Burke’s rip job on Bobby Ryan.
“I’m trying right now to apologize to Bobby Ryan,” Poile said on a Friday conference call. “I apologize as much as I can.”
Ryan, snubbed from the American team, was called “sleepy” by one selection committee member and had his passion questioned by Burke, who drafted Ryan second overall in 2005 and was part of the Team USA braintrust:
“[Ryan] is not intense. That word is not in his vocabulary,” Burke says. “It’s never going to be in his vocabulary.
“He can’t spell intense.”
In trying to make amends, Poile said that Burke actually had Ryan on his final Olympic roster and offered up this “excuse” as well:
Poile also added the goal of having ESPN (and USA Today) involved in the meetings wasn’t to denigrate any player, and that as much good was said about Ryan as was bad.
Those good things didn’t make the ESPN piece, apparently.
Yesterday, Ryan addressed the remarks and called Burke “gutless.” The Ottawa forward also rebuffed Burke’s attempts to contact him and seemed genuinely upset over how he was portrayed.
“They were direct quotes and it’s unfortunate they feel that way,” Ryan told the Ottawa Sun. “That’s their opinions and they’ve got to form a team. I guess to a certain degree you have to respect it.
“You don’t have to agree with it, right? But you could have just cut me. You didn’t have to … Actually I almost feel degraded when it comes out like that. It is what it is. That’s their decision. That’s how they feel about it.”
When Bobby Ryan first found out that he didn’t make the cut for Team USA, he was probed for his reaction.
“Insert ‘says all the right things’ here,” Ryan Tweeted to Ottawa Sun writer Don Brennan.
Evidently the “right things” includes an attack on Calgary Flames president Brian Burke for his scathing assessment of him.
“He is not intense. That word is not in his vocabulary,” Burke said, according to an ESPN report about the selection process. “It’s never going to be in his vocabulary. He can’t spell intense.”
Burke tried to reach out to Ryan on Wednesday, but the Ottawa Senators forward hasn’t called back.
Instead Ryan publicly called Burke “gutless,” according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch.
“Actually I almost feel degraded when it comes out like that,” Ryan said. He added that he would try to use it as motivation going forward.
Ryan ranks fifth among American-born players with 36 points in 42 games this season. He also surpassed the 30-goal mark in four consecutive campaigns from 2008-09 to 2011-12.
It’s worth noting though that Burke wasn’t alone in his opinion. Another member called him a “sleepy” skater and when Nashville Predators GM David Poile asked people to raise their hand if they were worried about Ryan, plenty of the people on the selection committee did so.
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.
Daniel who? Bobby Ryan’s start with the Ottawa Senators is helping fans move on past their former captain’s departure. Having him help beat up his new team in their first meeting helps out as well. (Sportsnet)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Thursday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 7pm ET. Here’s the link.
Kimmo Timonen is upset with himself after being demoted off the Flyers’ power play. (CSNPhilly.com, Philly.com)
Saku Koivu is itchy for one more run with Team Finland at the 2014 Winter Olympics. (NHL.com)
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock wants better results in the shootout from his team. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
If there’s a positive story for the Buffalo Sabres after Wednesday night’s game, it has everything to do with Nikita Zadorov. (The Buffalo News)
The Tampa Bay Lightning return to action after four days off. They’re not quite like the Blues who are in the midst of a week off of their own. (The Tampa Tribune)
Amazing how different playing in a hockey market like Ottawa is compared to that of sun-drenched Anaheim.
Right winger Bobby Ryan is beginning to find out exactly that as a member of the Ottawa Senators. It seems playing in Anaheim just didn’t compare in terms of how much pressure a player can feel from the fan base.
In Ottawa, your every move as an NHLer is up for discussion and debate. Through two games, Ryan, with a cap hit of $5.1 million, has just one point – an assist in the Senators’ shootout loss to Toronto on Saturday.
It’s only two games. But it’s in a different market, too. A hockey-hungry market.
“You really played under the radar there,” Ryan told the Globe and Mail. “It was different from here.”
Ryan, of course, came to Ottawa in a high-profile trade this summer.
The Senators acquired the 26-year-old Ryan in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on July 5 – the same day that it was reported Ottawa’s long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson would not be returning and would likely be signing elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent.
The spotlight playing in a Canadian market grows even larger on Saturday nights, which is reserved for Hockey Night in Canada on the CBC.
As Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported, Ryan’s conditioning was the subject of criticism on the HNIC broadcast Saturday. Naturally, Senators head coach Paul MacLean took issue with that.
“Whoever CBC is, or whoever they are, don’t know what they’re talking about. His conditioning level is fine,” MacLean said, according to the Ottawa Sun.
Bobby Ryan is getting ready for his first taste of the Battle of Ontario as the Ottawa Senators prepare to host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. Of course, Ryan isn’t the only former member of the Anaheim Ducks that’s involved in the clash, Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle will also be in attendance.
It might seem appropriate that Ryan and Carlyle now find themselves on opposite sides of this heated rivalry as they didn’t always see eye-to-eye in Anaheim and that helped spur the trade rumors that hung over Ryan for years. However, Ryan thinks people were overestimating the problems between the two and while he wouldn’t term their relationship as great, he isn’t blind to what Carlyle did for him.
“He’s a tough coach,” Ryan told the Ottawa Sun. “I do still really owe him quite a bit for becoming the player I am. That isn’t lost on me one bit.”
In reflection, the 26-year-old forward thinks that in his youth, he didn’t always understand what Carlyle was trying to do for him and Ryan took things too personally. Now that he’s matured, he can appreciate that his former coach had the best of intentions.
“I can take things and separate them now whereas I couldn’t when I was younger,” Ryan said. “I just always felt like I was the scapegoat with him. Sometimes I needed more than I knew … That pressure, that push. I certainly regret a lot of what went on.”
Now Carlyle will have to face and try to counter the man he helped guide into the player he is today. Meanwhile, Ryan will try to push a promising young team towards greatness.