NEW YORK - DECEMBER 26: Kyle Okposo #21 of the New York Islanders celebrates his overtime goal against the New York Rangers on December 26, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Islanders defeated the Rangers 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
After USA Hockey released its 25-man roster for the Sochi Olympics on Wednesday after the Winter Classic, many fans and pundits took to social media and various websites to lambaste the roster. The biggest cause for the vitriol was due to three players being left off of the roster: Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators, Kyle Okposo of the New York Islanders, and Keith Yandle of the Phoenix Coyotes.
Before the Islanders played their first game since the roster was released, broadcaster Howie Rose was asked by a studio analyst what he thought of Okposo not representing the United States. What follows is the biggest “homer” diatribe I’ve heard in a long, long time.
If you haven’t read the Scott Burnside article about how the Team USA roster was assembled, I suggest you do so because it gives a detailed look as to how it happened. If you don’t have the time to read it (although you really should make time to do so), Derek wrote about the eight biggest takeaways from the Burnside article so you can get a quick synopsis. Burnside writes in the beginning of the article that Okposo wasn’t given much consideration for Team USA. You can debate whether or not you agree with the decision made by Poile and Company but those are the facts. Personally, I’d feel the snub was greater had Okposo been considered and was one of the final cuts instead of not even been given a look.
What the real issue here is that this notion that the Islanders are this “disrespected” team around the league. This isn’t the first time Rose has taken up the fight for Islanders fans when a player has been snubbed in some way or another. Rose called out Washington Post and ESPN writer Neil Greenberg during an Islanders broadcast when Greenberg left John Tavares off of his “25 best players under 25” list:
First, Rose calls another journalist a “housebound agraphobe” and now he’s disrespected by USA Hockey. How “disrespected” is he going to feel should John Tavares be left off of Team Canada’s Olympic roster?
If anyone should feel disrespected about being snubbed from the Olympic roster, it should be Kyle Okposo, not some blowhard talking from press row.
Coincidentally, Okposo had the game-wining goal in Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.