2014 Olympic Hockey: Did T.J. Oshie Keep Bobby Ryan, Brandon Saad Off Of The Roster?

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Burnside's fascinating outline of the US Olympic hockey team selection process is well worth the read.

If you have questions about the Team USA men's Olympic Hockey roster, you could do a lot worse things to answer those queries than to read Scott Burnside's brilliant account of the selection process. Published on ESPN.com shortly after the announcement of the team, Burnside's piece goes through the selections stage by stage, step by step. The questioning of Bobby Ryan and Kyle Turris are highlighted multiple times. With Ryan, the selection board felt that he brought scoring and nothing else to the table, and the team already had enough of that. They wanted someone more faceted for their bottom six, which bumped Ryan beneath T.J. Oshie, Blake Wheeler, and Brandon Saad for the last two spots.

Oshie was not a lock. The selection committee preferred the Blackhawks' impressive young forward Saad.

As for the forwards, at the last meeting, for the first time St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie had been pushed just slightly off the main part of The Board with Blake Wheeler and Brandon Saad having supplanted Oshie in the top 14 forwards.

The problem is that the coaches really want Oshie on the team. They like the possible chemistry with David Backes -- who will leave that evening's game against the Ottawa Senators with an injury -- and they like Oshie's skill in the shootout.

The odd man out, then, is Bobby Ryan.

The coaches wanted Wheeler and Oshie, the executives wanted Saad. Since the coaches weren't pushy about the selection process and who they wanted, the executives gave them their choices for the last two spots on the bottom six.

If the group were to decide, it would be Wheeler and Saad, although Burke brings up the point that the coaches really like Oshie, and the coaching staff hasn't asked for much in terms of demanding certain players.

Given that, Burke would vote Wheeler and Oshie but like the defense group, he predicts injuries will see both Oshie and Saad in Sochi when the dust clears by early February.

Basically, regardless of who they chose, the other was going to wind up in Sochi anyway. Because the coaches wanted him, Oshie got the call, but Saad is just an injury away from being on team USA with Blackhawks teammate Patrick Kane.

So, no, Oshie did not push Ryan off of the Team USA roster - no one seemed to want him to begin with. The idea was to build a cohesive team, and Ryan did not fit into their definition of that. It was a three horse race for the last two spots, and the coaches wanted Oshie and Wheeler. Fear not, any Blackhawks fans reading this - it's a very distinct possibility that Saad suits up.

And it's not necessarily Oshie that pushed him off of the team. Blake Wheeler had a hand in that too.

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