Poile: ‘I’m trying right now to apologize to Bobby Ryan’

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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.”