U.S. Olympic men's hockey general manager David Poile apologized publicly to Senators forward Bobby Ryan on Friday for comments made by Brian Burke. Ryan has been a controversial omission from the Team USA roster released Wednesday.
Burke, Team USA’s director of player personnel, was open in his assessment of Ryan's shortcomings during the selection process as revealed by Scott Burnside’s behind-the-scenes feature. Burnside and USA Today's Kevin Allen were provided access to the team's evaluations, including criticism of players under consideration.
Burke, who drafted Ryan with the No. 2 pick in 2005, said he could not support selecting Ryan after selecting him four years earlier for the Vancouver Olympics.
Burke's arguments against selecting Ryan included:
“He’s a passive guy.”
“He is not intense. That word is not in his vocabulary. It’s never going to be in his vocabulary. He can’t spell intense.”
“I should have taken [Jack Johnson in the 2005 draft]. No way he lets us down for 12 days.”
Ryan fired back at Burke and Team USA decision makers on Thursday.
“They were direct quotes,” Ryan said, according to Bruce Garrioch. “It’s unfortunate they feel that way. Actually, I almost feel degraded when it comes out like that. That’s their decision and that’s how they feel about me. I will remember it and use it as motivation. That’s all you can really do.”
Allen tweeted that Burke's evaluation of Ryan was not entirely critical.
Team USA GM David Poile apologized publicly to Bobby Ryan for unflattering comments made by Brian Burke.
— Kevin Allen (@ByKevinAllen) January 3, 2014
Can verify that Burke spoke to Ryan's strengths at various times in the meetings. — Kevin Allen (@ByKevinAllen) January 3, 2014