Bobby Ryan might be the headlining “snub” for the U.S. Olympic team, but Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle isn’t far behind him. The 27-year-old wasn’t available when news surfaced that he wasn’t among American GM David Poile’s eight defensive choices, so Coyotes GM Don Maloney ended up providing perspective to Fox Sports Arizona on Wednesday:
“It really speaks volumes for the depth and quality of players USA Hockey is putting out,” Maloney said. “I’m disappointed for Keith, but a 10-day break in February to regroup before the last six to seven weeks of the season is not the worst thing in the world for the Phoenix Coyotes.”
(With that thought process in mind, Maloney probably secretly hopes for some other “snubs” on his roster.)
Before hearing about the snub, Yandle discussed the enticing possibility of using his offensive skills on a larger Olympic ice surface.
“I’ve never been to Russia, so hopefully I’ll get the opportunity,” Yandle said. “I think that would be the best part — a lot of ice, a lot of room to skate. Here in the NHL, there’s a lot of big bodies out there and there’s not too much room to get around. You can use your skating a little bit more (on the bigger surface).”
Assuming injuries won’t open the door for Yandle to play for the USA after all, that quote might provide a few “What if?” questions for Yandle, American fans and maybe even the U.S. brass … especially if the team’s other blueliners fail to produce offense with that extra room.