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Team USA GM apologizes for 'harsh' comments about Bobby Ryan

| Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, 9:06 p.m.

Three days after the announcement of the U.S. Olympic hockey team, a player who wasn't selected remains the story.

David Poile, Team USA's general manager, offered a public apology to Ottawa right wing Bobby Ryan, whom many expected to make the team.

Ryan's former general manager, Brian Burke — a key figure in the Team USA construction — has been criticized for making disparaging comments made about Ryan in articles published by ESPN and USA Today.

An Olympian on the 2010 U.S. team that took silver, Ryan has made it clear he didn't appreciate Burke's comments.

“Unfortunately, the comments were a little harsh,” Poile said. “The problem, and the communication breakdown that we had was we thought this was similar to a HBO ‘24/7' situation where we had editorial review on what was going to be said. It caught all of us off guard.

“That's on us. It's a little bit of a breakdown.”

Ryan was drafted second overall in 2005, the selection after Sidney Crosby.

Burke, then the Anaheim general manager, selected Ryan with that pick.

In the articles published by ESPN and USA Today, which were given exclusive access to the U.S. team's selection process, Burke was quoted as saying that Ryan isn't intense and that he “can't spell intense.”

Ryan told the Ottawa media Thursday that Burke is “gutless.”

Although Burke has remained silent on the issue, Poile spoke in his place.

“I am trying to apologize, if I can, to Bobby Ryan,” Poile said. “If that was said about me or one of my players, or I was (Ottawa general manager) Bryan Murray or Bobby or his agent, I would be very upset with this.

“I've apologized as much as I can.”

Poile pointed out that Burke was the biggest supporter of Ryan's candidacy among those who selected the team.

“As far as denigrating any player, none of us signed up for that,” Poile said. “Unfortunately, this was too much. I totally apologize to Bobby Ryan and on behalf of Brian Burke, who was absolutely his biggest supporter on our staff.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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