I believe that by now the comments made by Brian Burke during the Team USA selection process, as highlighted in Scott Burnside's piece, have been widely disseminated. They were blunt Burkian hyperbole at their best, but in this case it was hyperbole directed at a player that was read by everyone and their mother.
I can understand Bobby Ryan being upset. What Burke said, though is more than likely no worse than a general manager would say during an arbitration hearing or at a draft table regarding a prospect. The difference between what Burke said and what any other GM would say is next to nothing; the medium in which they were broadcast is the difference. Private criticism can be hard to take; public criticism is scathing and embarrassing.
The reason Burke's comments were broadcast was because the Team USA selection committee agreed to have Scott Burnside and Kevin Allen of USA Today sit in on the process. Presumably terms of this deal were discussed between the parties, and presumably some wires got crossed somewhere. David Poile apologized to Ryan, and then went on to explain the relationship between the selection committee and the media members. From the LA Times' Helene Elliott:
Poile said USA Hockey welcomed Burnside and Allen’s presence in an effort to popularize the game and was “happy to have them part of our team, if you will.” Poile also said Team USA executives believed they had the right to prevent publication of objectionable comments -- as with their control over material in HBO’s "24/7" series -- and that Burke had included Ryan’s name on Burke’s suggested final roster.“Unfortunately the comments were a little harsh,” Poile said. “The problem that we had with a communication breakdown that happened there was we thought this was similar to a '24/7' situation where we had editorial review on what was going to be said. It caught all of us off-guard. And again, that’s on us.”
Kypreos "the onus is on Scott Burnside to not publish things that will damage players"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) January 3, 2014
Oh, ok. I didn't know it was Burnside's job as a journalist to protect "feelings."
Poile "I was assured that things like that wouldn't be published. You should have never heard those Burke comments about Ryan"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) January 3, 2014
Kypreos "how do we avoid this from happening again? You thought you had an understanding and you got screwed"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) January 3, 2014
Well, you can start by getting these things in writing.
Kypreos "Burnside used poor judgment"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) January 3, 2014
In doing what, reporting factual information? Is he supposed to whitewash things? Wouldn't THAT show a lack of journalistic integrity?
Kypreos "Burke is devastated by this. They were invited in. And they as journalists know they are going to have to work in the future"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) January 3, 2014
Is this an insinuation that "they'll never work in this town again!!" *shakes fist*
Kypreos "was it necessary to the story to print Ryan can't spell"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) January 3, 2014
Holy God, does Kypreos not understand figurative language?
Burke and those other GMs million dollar executives. Are they incapable of being professional in meetings whether reporters present or not?— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) January 3, 2014
You mean to tell me that GMs and scouts and coaching staffs never ever talk like this in any other situation?
Kypreos "the players association needs to get involved. Can you imagine if Bobby Ryan was heading into free agency?"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) January 3, 2014
I'm pretty sure that general managers and scouts can make decisions based on their own evaluative processes.
Kyproes "isn't this libel? Can't this be a lawsuit? No. What about defamation of character?"— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) January 3, 2014
I'll end this by saying that no, his character hasn't been defamed; his play was being evaluated in an appropriate setting. The fact that Kypreos is siding with Ryan and "the players" isn't shocking, since that's the camp he used to be a member of. He needs to remember though that he's firmly ensconced in the media now, or as long as SportsNet continues to pay him to do his job. What he's railing about are common practices in both the media and management. This isn't "us versus them" in any direction. The real issue here is, and should continue to be if Team USA made the right decision, not how they came to the conclusion that they did.
Of course, we might not have to deal with this in the future anyway:
Nice while it lasted.