In the wake of the announcement of the US roster for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the biggest news wasn't about who made it. It was about who didn't. Namely, Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan. That only intensified when stories about the selection process filed by ESPN.com's Scott Burnside and Kevin Allen of USA Today revealed some of the discussion from Team USA's management team after being granted access to the meetings about building the Olympics roster.
One of the biggest takeaways was the way Calgary Flames president and Team USA director of player personnel Brian Burke spoke about Ryan. In Burnside's piece, Burke delivered this memorable line:
"He is not intense. That word is not in his vocabulary," said Burke. "It's never going to be in his vocabulary. He can't spell intense."
Ryan, who learned of the comments, was extremely offended by them and shared his disappointment with reporters Thursday.
From the Ottawa Sun:
"They were direct quotes and it's unfortunate they feel that way," said Ryan. "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. I will remember it and use it as motivation."
On Friday, Team USA general manager David Poile took the opportunity during a media teleconference on the Olympic team to express his apologies to Ryan and his regret the comments were made public.
"I reached out to [Senators general manager] Bryan Murray to tell him exactly what happened," Poile said. "Brian Burke has tried to call Bobby Ryan.
"In a management setting, we're dealing on a daily basis of talking about our players sometimes positively, sometimes critically. What goes on the room should stay in the room. Unfortunately, this was a characterization on the whole was not representative of what actually happened."
Poile explained that when he asked Burke about who he would take for the final roster, Ryan was on Burke's list.
"I am trying to apologize if I can to Bobby Ryan," said Poile. "If that was said about me or one of my players, or I was Bryan Murray or Bobby or his agent, I would be very upset with this. I've apologized as much as I can."
Poile also was under the impression that the management team would have had more editorial control over what was written.
"The problem we had was the communication breakdown that happened, we thought this was more of a 24/7 situation where we had editorial review," Poile said of the behind-the-scenes story. "It caught all of us off-guard. That's on us.
"As far as denigrating any player, not any of us signed up for that. Unfortunately this was too much. I totally apologize to Bobby Ryan and on behalf of Brian Burke, who was absolutely [Ryan's] biggest supporter on our staff."
While it was great the US staff opened the doors to outsiders to give the rest of the world a look inside the room, the comments like Burke's that get out certainly could have a negative impact. It obviously doesn't look great on the staff, but it's also probably how a lot of them talk about their players behind closed doors.
We got a chance to see at least portions of the good, the bad and the ugly.
It will be interesting to see if some players get injured and need to be replaced on the roster if Ryan gets a call and if he does, would he accept an offer to join the team? It sounds like there’s a lot of patch work needed based on Ryan’s prior comments.
Either way, the toothpaste is already out of the tube on this one and there's more fuel for criticism of what was already a questionable roster snub.