As general manager of the 2014 U.S. Olympic team, David Poile admits he has a difficult task in selecting the 25 players that will be taken to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
In fact, he says it was difficult to narrow his list of potential Olympians to the 48 that were invited to the orientation camp that concludes today in Arlington, saying there were some painful omissions, including forward Jason Pominville.
“There may certainly be someone not here who proves he belongs on the team,” Poile said.
“That’s the fun of the job and the nervousness of making the right decision. We’ve got to make the right decision on every guy. If we screw up on one guy that could be the difference of us winning or not winning.”
That said, Poile told the 48 camp invitees there are three factors that will be taken into account during the selection process, which will conclude with a projected Jan. 1 announcement:
1. Career body of work
2. Quality of play in the first three months of the NHL season
3. Intangible qualities that promote teamwork
“Last Olympics, a lot of pundits out there wondered why Chris Drury was on that team,” Poile said. “Brian [Burke] answered perfectly. ‘Because he’s Chris Drury.’ Brian was totally right. He was fantastic. He brought the character and leadership and intangibles that every team is looking for.”
Poile said he does not want to overplay the wider ice surface as a “huge, huge factor as to who we bring and who we don’t bring,” but Burke made it clear that selecting strong skaters will be a priority.
“If you can’t skate,” Burke said, “you’re in trouble.”
Of the 48 players invited to the two-day camp, 16 won silver medals at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Poile said those players have an inside track on returning.
“Nobody’s been given a position,” he said. “Your body of work is what got you here and I favor almost all the guys that played in 2010. I would like every one of them to make the team, but we’re going to choose the best team and the best players.”
Here is a complete roster of the camp invitees, along with a schedule for Tuesday’s public day, which requires a pre-purchased ticket [$40 adults, $30 children under 14]:
Justin Abdelkader, David Backes, Beau Bennett, Nick Bjugstad, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Alex Galchenyuk, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kessler, Phil Kessel, Trevor Lewis, Kyle Okposo, T.J. Oshie, Max Pacioretty, Kyle Palmieri, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Bobby Ryan, Brandon Saad, Craig Smith, Paul Stastny, Derek Stepan, James van Riemsdyk, Blake Wheeler.
Zach Bogosian, Dustin Byfuglien, John Carlson, Danny Dekeyser, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Jake Gardiner, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Seth Jones, Nick Leddy, Paul Martin, Ryan McDonagh, Brooks Orpik, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Suter, Jacob Trouba, Keith Yandle.
Craig Anderson, John Gibson, Jimmy Howard, Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, Cory Schneider.
David Poile, GM, Ray Shero, Associate GM, Brian Burke, Director Player Personnel, Jim Johansson, USA Hockey Assistant Executive Director Hockey Operations
Dan Bylsma, head coach, Tony Granato, assistant, Peter Laviolette, assistant, Todd Richards, assistant, Any Saucier, video coordinator
10 a.m. Wounded Warriors Game
11:30 a.m. Unveiling of Team USA Olympic jersey
Introduction of camp players
Comments from Team USA players, dignitaries