The snubbed Team USA forward not named Bobby Ryan might have given some of the Olympic team committee members second thoughts Thursday night in his first game since being left off the American roster.
New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo, who has been gracious in accepting his omission from Sochi, only needed 58 seconds of overtime to drill a shot past Stanley Cup champ Corey Crawford and drill home the point that the American squad is deep enough to leave off some players having fantastic campaigns.
With 16 goals and 26 assists through 42 games, the St. Paul, Minn., native is on pace for his first point-a-game season. But Okposo’s ranking as the NHL’s ninth leading scorer was apparently not enough to earn him a spot on the national team. For those scoring at home, Okposo has six more points than Ryan. The only American player more productive than Okposo this season is Patrick Kane.
“I don’t know if Kyle thought David Poile’s head was in the net and he was aiming for it,” Isles captain and Team Canada lock John Tavares told reporters after New York’s 3-2 home victory. The comment was delivered tongue-in-cheek.
Okposo drew chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” as he was interviewed on the ice after his heroics.
“You’re giving me chills right now,” Okposo told the Nassau Coliseum crowd.
“Sometimes you get tough bounces in life,” he went on. “You don’t always achieve your goals. Tonight I thought I left everything out there.”
Expect outrage if Team USA’s offence struggles overseas. If the American offence is firing, all will be forgotten (see: Steven Stamkos’s Team Canada snub in 2010).
“He was probably a little disappointed,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said of the winger’s Olympic snub. “He is just excited that we won the game.”