Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/08/14 at 02:30 PM ET
from Sam Page of Sports Illustrated,
Outlook: Thanks to Scott Burnside’s and Kevin Allen’s exclusive access to the U.S. team’s selection process, we know more about the thinking (and dreaming) behind these choices than we ever imagined. Bobby Ryan was the worst snub, and it’s not really defensible. USA Hockey doesn’t have the Kunitz excuse of kowtowing to its best player (who is Patrick Kane, of course). Ottawa’s perennial 30-goal scorer was simply left off the roster because the American brain trust thought they had better options (they wish!). The international ice could be 500-feet wide, Ryan could skate in his sleep and fail to spell “intense” with a word bank and the Americans would still be stupid to leave him off their roster.
Regardless, this is still a solid forward corps full of tough two-way guys designed to neutralize more-skilled opponents. In fact, it may be on defense where GM David Poile and company really misstepped. Notable snubs Dustin Byfuglien and Keith Yandle may be two of the four best American blueliners in the world. And if you’re so concerned about mobility, why bring paperweight Brooks Orpik along for the ride?
Underrated pick: Blake Wheeler. Plenty of fans derided him as being chosen over Bobby Ryan. Why? Since the Thrashers’ move to Winnipeg in 2011, Wheeler has been money, scoring .84 points per game. Compare his output to fellow right winger Ryan Callahan’s .68 PPG during the same span and ask which player should have been on the bubble.
more plus a look at Canada, Sweden and Russia...
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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