Today was a banner day for the sport of Hockey. The NHL had another successful Winter Classic in Michigan at the Big House. The game featured historic franchises in the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. During the second period intermission, USA Hockey announced the roster for the USA Women’s Olympic Team. After the Winter Classic, Team USA announced their Men’s roster for the Olympics in Sochi.
After the announcement of the Men’s roster, everyone on internet started naming the Team USA snubs. Several snubs included Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators, Keith Yandle of the Phoenix Coyotes, and Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Saad along with Nick Leddy were invited to the USA Olympic Orientation camp this past summer. Most people believed that Saad had a realistic chance to make the team, while Leddy’s chances were very slim. After today’s announcement, we learned that both Saad and Leddy did not make Team USA. In my minds of all Blackhawks fans, Saad should have made the roster.
Saad could play on any of the USA lines and play either wing position. Recently Saad has started playing right wing. Saad has not shrunk from the spotlight in his short NHL career. Saad was a Calder Trophy finalist last season and helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup Championship. Saad also has played on the same line as Top USA Star Patrick Kane before. If chemistry was important to team USA, that should have played in Saad’s favor. Saad is having his best season thus far with 14 goals and 16 assists. Saad is a plus 16 on the season and has appeared in all 42 games for the Blackhawks.
It can be speculated that Team USA went with a veteran forward group. Only four forwards, T.J. Oshie (6 goals 27 assists), Max Pacioretty (17 goals 4 assists), Derek Stepan (7 goals 18 assists) James van Riemsdyk (14 goals 15 assists), and Blake Wheeler( 15 goals 16 assists) were not on the 2010 Olympic team. As you can see by the number Brandon Saad stacks up very well with each one of these players.
One could speculate the reason Oshie, Pacioretty, Stepan, Van Riemsdyk, and Wheeler made it over Saad was because of their international experience. Saad has yet to play any international hockey. While the Oshie, Pacioretty, Stephan, Van Riemsdyk, and Wheeler all have played in the World Junior Championships and World Amateur Championships for Team USA.
Only the Team USA General Manager David Polie and his staff know why they chose certain players and why they left certain players off the roster. Only time will tell if they were right.
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