Okposo left off Olympic squad
January, 1, 2014
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com
Islanders forward Kyle Okposo will not play for Team USA in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Okposo was not among the 25 players named when the U.S. Men's Hockey team was announced Wednesday evening following the Maple Leafs' 3-2 shootout win over the Red Wings in the 2014 Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Okposo, who was also passed over in the selection of the 2010 Olympic team that earned silver in Vancouver, was considered to be a bubble player among the elite crop of forwards. According to ESPN.com's Scott Burnside's exclusive story, which details the painstaking process by which the team was constructed, Okposo did not garner much consideration:
Like [goaltender Ben] Bishop, [GM David] Poile notes that 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.
So, the management group clearly did not feel Okposo was a strong candidate on the bigger ice surface. And it could not have helped matters that he is on a floundering Islanders squad that has had an abysmal first half.
Still, the St. Paul, Minn., native is producing at almost a point-per-game pace, with 15 goals and 25 assists in 41 games for the Islanders this season. He is second in scoring among American-born NHL forwards, trailing only Chicago's Patrick Kane, who has 23 goals and 53 points.
Okposo was not the only notable name left off the list. Defenseman Keith Yandle and goal-scorer Bobby Ryan were both snubbed as well.