Saad passed over for Olympic spot
Penguins brass passed on Brandon Saad 30 months ago.
Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma, two key figures in Team USA's roster decisions for the 2014 Winter Olympics, passed on the Pittsburgh product again Wednesday.
Saad, a member of Chicago's 2013 Stanley Cup team, has been more productive in his second NHL campaign and had his fingers crossed when the team was announced following the Winter Classic.
“It's disappointing,” Saad told the Tribune-Review. “But it's a tough team to make. Hopefully, there will be other opportunities.”
Among American forwards, the 21-year-old Saad ranks third in even strength goals (13), eighth in points (30) and first in plus-minus (plus-16).
Saad has played on some of hockey's biggest stages. He played important roles on 2012 American squad at the World Junior Championship and led the U.S. to gold the previous year at the Under-18 World Hockey Championship.
He acknowledges that thoughts of the Olympics had crept into his mind during recent weeks.
“You know the announcement is coming,” he said. “You try not to spend all day thinking about it or focusing on it too much, but you know it's down to crunch time.”
Saad was selected by the Blackhawks in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. At one point, Saad was considered by many a top-five pick, but his stock dropped during an injury-filled 2010-11 Ontario Hockey League season.
Since being drafted by Chicago, Saad has responded by scoring 24 goals and 57 points in his first 90 NHL regular season games.
He is on pace to score 27 goals this season, despite playing primarily on Chicago's third line, not taking advantage of playing with Blackhawks stars like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa.
Saad was quick to note, however, that he is familiar enough with Kane to display plenty of chemistry with the league's second-leading scorer.
“I definitely feel like I'm a better player now than I was last season,” Saad said. “I just feel a lot more comfortable, a lot more confident. The more you play in the NHL, the more you start to feel better about yourself and your game.”
Saad was invited to the Team USA Olympic Orientation Camp in August, but said he hadn't heard anything from the team's front office since.
Saad said if a rash of injuries hit the American players during the next month, he'd be willing to play if named an alternate.
“I'm not sure what they're thinking if injuries happen,” Saad said. “It's out of my control.”
Continuing his ascent as one of the NHL's finer young forwards is all Saad can control.
“I'm having a good year,” he said. “I feel good about what I've done.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NHL notebook: AHL changes rules for OT, fighting
- NHL notebook: Blackhawks lock up Kane, Toews with 8-year extensions