With the Ottawa Senators’ pregame skate taking place this morning, all the microphones and television cameras were waiting for Bobby Ryan to respond to Brian Burke’s comments made during USA Hockey’s Olympic team selection process that were recently published by ESPN’s Scott Burnside.
"They were direct quotes. It's unfortunate they feel that way. They've got to form a team. I guess to a certain degree you have to respect it. You don't have to agree with it, right? I certainly don't. They could have just cut me (laughs).
"Actually I almost feel degraded when it comes out like that. It is what it is. That's their decision and that's how they feel about me. I will remember it and use it as motivation. That's all you can really do."
Ryan even questioned Burke’s truculence.
“That’s pretty gutless, almost, to say about a player, but that’s Burke’s opinion.
“We’ve always had a good relationship. I haven’t talked to him and I’m probably not going to reach out to him or send him a Christmas card.
“It is what it is, it is how he feels.”
We can certainly make fun of Burke’s candor, comments and criticisms, but the problem is these pointed criticisms are always going to be part of any team’s decision-making process. Moreover, the comments are just a snapshot of what was said. Perhaps there was effusive praise for Ryan’s offensive game and skills, we just didn’t get a chance to read about it.
Whatever the case, Burke’s comments hurt Ryan; that much is transparent.
“Over the last couple of years I haven’t heard (the criticism). Burkie said it to me, he stressed it to me when I was young, 18 or 19 years old, that I needed to instill a better work ethic and that was probably because I was a little pudgy and never worked out.
“I thought I had changed it around. Or at least changed it around in his mind. But apparently not.”
The sad thing is that if it weren’t for Scott Burnside’s reporting, none of these comments about Ryan’s shortcomings would have been brought to light. In consequence, it is the fallout of the comments attributed to Burke that make me wonder whether journalists will be given this kind of access in the future; which would be a shame, because it was a rare and meaty glimpse that we normally would not access to.
Other News and Notes…
The Minnesota Wild placed former Senator Zenon Konopka on waivers today. Konopka’s 65.7-percent faceoff percentage will surely be able to help out a team looking for a faceoff specialist and the fact that he can drop the gloves should be endearing for a team looking for toughness. According to Capgeek, Konopka is in the final year of his contract that pays him $925,000.
Based off the defensive pairings used at today’s practice, Patrick Wiercioch and Eric Gryba will be scratched tonight versus Winnipeg. Wiercioch’s absence just highlights the congestion of left-handed shooting defencemen that this team has. Phillips, Methot, Cowen, Wiercioch and Borowiecki are
Paul MacLean’s morning practice comments have been made available by the Ottawa Senators’ Chris Lund.
By the way, I believe the leg muscle strain that Chris Neil has is hamstring injury. #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) January 2, 2014
Jason Spezza also acknowledged that he has been suffering from an injury to his hip flexor.