Okposo Proving to be Biggest Olympic Snub
While much of the furore surrounded Bobby Ryan’s omission from Team USA, another US winger has ‘established himself’, for lack of a better term, as the biggest Olympic snub.
Kyle Okposo is seventh in NHL scoring heading towards the Olympic break, with 24 goals and 58 points.
Whilst Islanders fans knew all about the season the Minnesota native is having, the rest of the NHL only just seems to be waking up to the 25-year olds talents.
It’s taken a little time for Okposo to get there though. 18 and 19 goal campaigns in his first two full NHL seasons signalled great potential on an Islanders franchise trying to drag itself out of the basement.
An injury hit 2010/11 campaign was soon forgotten when he scored 24 goals in 2011/12, but the powerful winger still seemed to be ‘under performing’ and a 4 goal effort during the truncated 2013 season fuelled trade talk rather than Olympic dreams.
Then the play-offs came…
Okposo was arguably the Islanders best player in the teams first post season appearance for 6 years – scoring 3 goals and 4 points in 6 games against Pittsburgh. The Islanders may have exited in round 1, but their return to the play-offs was a signal that the franchise was starting to get back on track – and that Okposo was on the verge of stardom.
I wrote about the Isles hopes for Okposo in November – at the time he had 6 goals and 20 points and it appeared that the 2013 play-offs were his ‘coming out party’.
Those appearances look to have been confirmed, as the winger kept on rolling.
Playing alongside team Captain John Tavares and Thomas Vanek doesn’t hurt of course; but whilst Ryan scored just 2 goals and 6 points through January, Okposo had 9 goals and 18 points.
Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski perfectly captured the frustration of Ryan’s slump, no one can fault Okposo’s efforts since Team USA was announced on January 1st.
For a player who was barely mentioned by the US Olympic selection committee, the Isles star has certainly flipped the proverbial bird to any doubters over the past few weeks.
Now we are left asking how Blake Wheeler, for example, made it when Okposo did not. And while Canada may have left a B team at home, Alex Semin may have only made Team Russia at the second time of asking and Jiri Hudler may still be, bizarrely, absent from the Czech roster – Kyle Okposo is looking like the biggest oversight of all.