On January 1st, The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs faced off in the Big House in Ann Arbor Michigan for the Winter Classic. After the game, which the Maple Leafs won in a shootout, Team USA announced their rosters for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Of the players in that game, Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings were announced as Olympians. Here are all of the 25 players on the roster:
James van Riemsdyk, Phil Kessel, Dustin Brown, T.J. Oshie, David Backes, Ryan Callahan, Max Pccioretty, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Kane, Zach Parise, Joe, Pavelski, Paul Stasny, Derek Stepan, and Blake Wheeler
Of those players, only 6 are in the top 10 of NHL scoring for American born players. The other four are Bobby Ryan, Kyle Okposo, Dustin Byfuglien, and Brandon Saad. In fact, Dustin Brown and Ryan Callahan aren’t even in the top 50 in scoring for American players in the NHL. Granted Callahan and Brown are both captains on their respective teams and bring a physical aspect to their game that doesn’t show up on the stats, but players like Brandon Dubinsky and R.J. Umburger, who both have more points than Callahan and Brown, also bring that physical style of leadership to the game as well. Here’s a list of the players I believe were snubbed:
Bobby Ryan, Kyle Okposo, Jason Pominville, and Brandon Dubinsky.
Kyle Okposo has been tearing it up this year. Known for his slow starts, Okposo but that all behind him and is 12th in league scoring with 42 points in 43 games. Bobby Ryan looks like he’s headed towards another 30 goal season (with four under his belt already), and is a big reason why the Ottawa Senators are climbing back into a playoff spot, as they’ve won 5 of their last 4 games. Bobby Ryan is 6th for points by Americans in the NHL with 36 points in 44 games. Jason Pominville is a veteran forward for the Minnesota Wild, where he is teammates with Zach Parise. Kessel and van Riemsdyk were selected together for the Olympics and will probably play on a line together due to their tremendous chemistry, so why wasn’t Pominville selected for the same reasons when Zach Parise was?
Keith Yandle is 17th in scoring for Americans, a fairly impressive feat for a shutdown defenseman. Yandle is 27 years old, a veteran compared to players like Cam Fowler and Justin Falk. For the past 7 years, Yandle has been a consistent scorer for Phoenix. Byfuglien is similar to Yandle in the respect that he is a veteran compared to those on the roster and has been a consistent scorer on the blue line throughout his career. Jack Johnson is overrated in many ways, but you can’t ignore his strong puck possession game and his tremendous speed to go along with his playmaking abilities.
Ben Bishop is one of the main reasons the Tampa Bay Lightning haven’t faltered despite the loss of Steven Stamkos. Bishop is first amongst American goalies with a 1.83 GAA and a .936 SV%, tremendous numbers for a first year starter in the league.