Remember #OkieForSochi? Time for Isles fans to come up with a new and clever Kyle Okposo hashtag for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
USA Hockey named Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi to serve as the team’s GM on Thursday and with that announcement, an early projection of the American roster was put out. Again, Okposo was not given a roster spot, but rather “prominently in the mix” according to Kevin Allan in USA Today.
For Islanders fans, Kyle Okposo was a surprising snub in 2014, left off the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team in favor of Blake Wheeler and shootout specialist T.J. Oshie. The U.S. Team would go on to lose to Finland in the Bronze Medal game and fail to medal.
Okposo was in the midst of his best season in the NHL, posting career bests in goals, assists and points, thriving on a line with John Tavares and Thomas Vanek. Yet, Okposo apparently never was seriously considered. A report on ESPN.com indicated that the U.S. team’s decision-makers believed the Islanders forward is not “built for the big ice” of Olympic competition.
“That part of it’s a little bit frustrating,” Okposo told Newsday. “I think I’ve proven myself on the big sheet in college and I’ve had a lot of experience playing world championships with them.”
While we work on a catchy hashtag, let’s hope Okposo, heading into free agency, goes from “prominently in the mix’ to prominently on the U.S. Hockey Roster for the World Cup of Hockey.
Here is Allan’s Complete Projected Roster:
Tyler Johnson (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Derek Stepan (New York Rangers)
Ryan Kesler (Anaheim Ducks)
Brandon Dubinsky (Columbus)
Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens),
Zach Parise (Minnesota Wild)
Nick Foligno (Columbus Blues Jackets)
David Backes (St. Louis Blues)
Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
Phil Kessel (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks)
Ryan Callahan (Tampa Bay Lightning)
13th forward: Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets)
Others prominently in the mix): Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders) , Nick Bjugstad(Florida Panthers), Justin Abdelkader (Detroit Red Wing), Paul Stastny (St. Louis),Chris Kreider (New York Rangers)
Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild); John Carlson (Washington Capitals)
Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers); Justin Faulk (Carolina Hurricanes)
Brooks Orpik (Washington Capitals); Erik Johnson (Colorado Avalanche)
Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues)
Others prominently in the mix: Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets), Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks), Alec Martinez (Los Angeles Kings), Danny DeKeyser (Detroit Red Wings)
Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings)
Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Ryan Miller (Vancouver Canucks)
Others prominently in the mix: Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings)
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