USA Hockey announced the roster it will take to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and for the second consecutive Olympiad it includes zero New York Islanders.
After being invited to this past summer's orientation camp, Islanders right winger Kyle Okposo's candidacy had been increasingly raised as he stayed on the Islanders' top offensive line and produced there this season. At the season's midway point, his 40 points (15 goals and 25 assists) had him tied for 12th in the NHL, second among American-born players.
His 30 even strength points rank him tied for fifth overall in the NHL.
Both the men's and women's rosters were announced today, with details and press conference feed available at USA Hockey's official site.
While this means Okposo will get a break in February, when the NHL pauses for two weeks so its stars can participate in this tournament, his two Islanders linemates are likely to continue munching minutes: Canada's John Tavares and Austria's Thomas Vanek are all but locks for their respective teams.
Other notable omissions include Ottawa Senators sniper Bobby Ryan, Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle, and Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson -- the latter a proper call by most accounts, but a surprising one considering Johnson has long been a fixture for the U.S. in international competition.
ESPN's Scott Burnside was evidently one of two writers given "unprecedented" inside access to the decision-making behind the U.S. braintrust, and writes the following:
Jason Pominville and Kyle Okposo are having great seasons but haven't been given much, if any, consideration.
Still, the belief is that neither Pominville nor Okposo is built for the big ice, and their names will rarely, if ever, be heard in relation to making the team going forward.
There are two spots open up front, but as Poile canvasses the room, there is little in the way of agreement about which combination of Ryan, Wheeler, Saad or Galchenyuk it should be.
Again the question of whether Ryan's status as a pure goal scorer is enough to put him on this team.
That braintrust includes Predators GM David Poile, Flyers GM Paul Holmgrem, Kings GM Dean Lombardi and multi-team GM/overlord Brian Burke (a big fan of Ryan's, but who also questions Ryan's ability to spell "intense"), among others. Their selections, according to ESPN:
|g||Jimmy Howard||Red Wings|
|W||Phil Kessel||Maple Leafs|
|W||James van Riemsdyk||Maple Leafs|
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