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Ryan to use Olympic comments as motivation

Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 2:58 PM

By Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent / Road to Sochi blog

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Road to Sochi blog
Ryan to use Olympic comments as motivation

OTTAWA -- Bobby Ryan's television viewing on New Year's Day got his 2014 off to a disappointing start.

The high-scoring Ottawa Senators right wing was watching Wednesday when the United States Olympic men's hockey team was unveiled at the end of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Unlike four years earlier, when a young hockey player sported a 2010 U.S. Olympic jersey with his name on the back at the end of the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston, Ryan did not make the final cut for the American team that will compete at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The team was introduced following the Toronto Maple Leafs' 3-2 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium.

"Ultimately they decided to go a different direction so I guess as a player you have to respect that, but at the same time I thought I played well enough to earn a spot. But I can't change it now," Ryan said Thursday after Ottawa's morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre prior to the Senators' game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Ryan also was disappointed after a story on ESPN.com quoted Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke, who also serves as the director of player personnel for the 2014 U.S. Olympic team, questioning Ryan's level of intensity in an article written about the selection process for the American team.

Ryan's phone rang during the broadcast but he did not recognize it and didn't answer the call. He also received a text from Burke on Wednesday but chose not to respond to it.

"They were direct quotes so it's unfortunate that they feel that way, but that's their opinions and they've got to form a team and I guess to a certain degree you have to respect it," Ryan said. "You don't have to agree with it, right? And I certainly don't, but you could have just cut me. I almost feel degraded … when it comes out like that but it is what it is. That's their decision and that's how they feel about me and I'll use it as motivation. That's all you can really do."

Drafted by the Anaheim Ducks with the second pick of the 2005 NHL Draft -- by Burke, who was the Ducks' general manager at the time -- Ryan scored at least 31 goals in four consecutive seasons, from 2008-09 to 2011-12. He had 11 goals in 46 games last season, his sixth with Anaheim, and he has 18 goals and 18 assists in 42 games with Ottawa, which acquired him in a July 5 trade with the Ducks.

"He's been kind of a staple here in our room all year of consistency," Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, who also was passed over for the U.S. team, said. "He's kind of the one guy we've counted on a nightly basis to be here every night and help this team be better, so I think he's a quality player and deserves to be there. But at the end of the day I don't make the decisions."

Ryan won a silver medal with the U.S. Olympic team in Vancouver, contributing a goal and an assist in six games. He was picked for that team by Burke, who served as the United States team's GM.

"He definitely has a skill set to put the puck in the net," Anderson said. "He's got a tricky shot, smooth hands and he puts himself in the right position to give himself an opportunity to shoot the puck and score, so it's one of those things where I wouldn't want to face him on the other team on a nightly basis so I'm kind of glad he's on my team."

Senators goalie Robin Lehner, who is in contention for a spot on Sweden's Olympic roster, said it was "pretty weird" that Ryan was left off the American team.

"I think it's a good thing for Sweden that they didn't pick Bobby because if you give him a good scoring chance it will be a goal," Lehner said. "That's how he is here. He's a great player. He's one of our leading scorers 5-on-5. He makes a goal out of nothing and that's a good skill on a team to have."

2014 OLYMPICS POLL