They do this for free.
Around the table on this bright August morning are some of the most successful men in hockey -- all here as unpaid stewards for hockey in America. Stan Bowman, twice the GM of a Stanley Cup winner in Chicago, is here. So, too, is Dean Lombardi, whose Los Angeles Kings won a Cup in 2012 and were Western Conference finalists in the spring of 2013, losing to Bowman's Hawks. Dale Tallon, GM of the Florida Panthers and a key figure in the renaissance of the Chicago franchise, is here. Ray Shero, defending GM of the year and leader of a Pittsburgh Penguins team that won a Cup in 2009, sits to Poile's right. Shero, who worked alongside Poile in Nashville before taking on the Penguins' job, will act as the team's assistant GM in Sochi.
Brian Burke wants it to be David Polie's team, but Brian Burke is still heard.
It is an indication of Burke's understanding of the nuance that comes with building a team like this, not just the pressures of building a winner but understanding the intricacy that goes into building a team for a tournament on the world's grandest sporting stage.
Bottom line is it gets built from the top on down.
This is David Poile's team now, his show.
Brian Burke wanted this to be David Poile's show, but somehow Brian Burke seemed to be in on every major decision. All throughout the article Burke chirped over various things. Most notably when the discussions shifted towards Keith Yandle and Bobby Ryan. Speaking of that...
Brian Burke doesn't like Keith Yandle or Bobby Ryan. At all.
Some people love Brian Burke for his honestly and antics. We aren't in that group. Burke is a blowhard, who if he doesn't like a player, will run them down. That was ever on display when the GM's were discussing Bobby Ryan and Keith Yandle
"He is not intense. That word is not in his vocabulary," Burke says. "It's never going to be in his vocabulary. He can't spell intense."
Bobby Ryan, by the way, is one of the leading American scores in the NHL. He has posted four 30-goal seasons.
On Keith Yandle, Burke was made to look like he has some type of hatred of Keith Yandle:
But Burke remains skeptical about Yandle's place on the team.
"I always assume a disaster's going to happen," he says.
What happens if Paul Martin goes down on the first shift of the first game?
"Who plays those minutes?" Burke asks.
"If Keith Yandle goes in our top four, I think everyone we play is excited," Burke says.
Yikes. Yandle plays 23 minutes a night for a good Phoenix team.
Why the hell is Don Waddell involved?
Ray Shero really loves Jimmy Howard.
Shero insists he'd still rather throw in his lot with the Detroit netminder given his playoff experience and the belief he'll rise to the challenge if called on.
"I'm going to take my [bleeping] chances with Jimmy Howard," Shero says.
Jack Johnson left off the roster.
The brass seemingly struggled over this decision as well. Thought this quote from Johnson's former GM, Dean Lombardi, was interesting:
Continuing on the discussion that began on the last call, the dilemma over Jack Johnson continues. "There's something missing with Jack this year," Poile says.
"His gap is terrible right now. It's like he's got no confidence," Burke says.
"If he knew where he was on this board right now, it would kill him," Dean Lombardi adds.
Ultimately, Johnson was left off of the roster.
Paul Holgrem and Lavy. Awkward.
Burnside mentioned this in passing, but Peter Laviolette and Paul Holgrem are both apart of the Team USA selection group. Can't imagine that was fun.
Left or Right?
The whole read on d-man shooting left-handed or right-handed was great. You almost wonder if Polie and friends over thought some things here. Justin Faulk is good, but it feels like he is on the team because he shoots right, and Keith Yandle, who didn't make it, shoots left.
Overall this was an awesome look into this process, but one wonders on whether or not it will be a damning one. Keith Yandle and Bobby Ryan were humiliated in this piece. If someone goes down before the games, will Yandle or Ryan even want to play for team USA? Have fun with that, Dave Polie.
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Is it too late for Ryan and Yandle to apply for dual citizenship in a country that hasn't named its roster yet? Could be nice additions to some underdog teams like Finland or Sweden.
It was a fantastic read, but I was damned surprised that it was so no-holds-barred candid. You'd think they'd have hedged their bets a bit or taken some stuff off the record, at least until closer to the Olympics when injuries wouldn't be a factor. Maybe it's simply that I'm not used to any sort of balls-out honesty when it comes to anything that goes on behind the scenes of hockey.
@TPBderek i wondered the same about Yandle or Ryan willing to play for USA after this.