Poile apologizes to Ryan in person for public criticism

Bobby Ryan has received some closure on his Olympic snub.

Poile apologizes to Ryan in person for public criticism
Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators in action against the Winnipeg Jets during first period of NHL action at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, January 02, 2014. (Jean Levac/Ottawa Citizen)

NASHVILLE — Bobby Ryan has received some closure on his Olympic snub.

Nashville Predators general manager David Poile, who also happens to be general manager of the U.S. Olympic team, met with Ryan to apologize for the public criticism the Ottawa Senators star right winger was forced to endure last week.

Ryan was labelled as lacking passion and his intensity was questioned by Calgary Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke during the management meetings leading up to the selection of the team. The comments were made public by reporters who sat in on the meetings.

In expressing his heartfelt regrets, Poile also suggested that Ryan could end up on the Olympic team if there’s an injury or two.

“He just said you never know what might happen in three weeks, or whatever it is, a month, and I said okay, but that wasn’t really the theme of the conversation by any means,” Ryan said following Friday’s practice, as the Senators geared up for Saturday’s game against the Predators.

Ryan says he hasn’t given much thought to the possibility of playing in future international tournaments for the Americans.

“I don’t know, I think you will have to ask me when the opportunity presents itself,” he said. “I’m certainly not going to turn my back on the (U.S.A.) crest.

Poile’s presence isn’t serving as any additional motivation for Ryan as he faces the Predators, but he says the Senators have to be prepared to match the home team’s patient, grinding game.

Nashville is coming off a 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Thursday, a rare game in which the Predators blew an early 2-0 lead. The Predators have also received inconsistent goaltending since Pekka Rinne suffered a bacterial infection early in the season, going 14-16-5 with the tandem of Marek Mazanec and Carter Hutton, but Ryan says it’s a tough atmosphere to play in.

“The (fans) are loud and when they get that stupid win song or goal song in play, it’s just painful,” he said. “The building alone is tough. If you don’t take the crowd out of it, it can build up for sure.”

On an individual level, Ryan is making a conscious effort to shoot more often, aiming to end his four-game scoring drought. He has 18 goals this season, but only one goal in his past 10 games.

“When I’m not scoring, I feel like I’m drifting a bit, waiting for the puck to come to me,” he said. “I just feel like I’m on the perimeter a little bit and passing too much. I have to be a little bit selfish.”

Senators coach Paul MacLean says he’s always encouraging Ryan to shoot the puck more, believing that second or third chances often result even if the initial shot is stopped. At the same time, MacLean isn’t overly concerned with Ryan’s mini-slump, knowing the goals will eventually come.

“Bobby’s history is that he scores between 30 and 35 goals, so it’s not unreasonable to expect that he’s going to do that this year,” said MacLean. “If you do that, you’re usually scoring every other game or every two or three games and that gives us a lot of comfort.”

Craig Anderson will make his sixth straight start in goal Saturday and MacLean said he would likely make one change on defence. Chris Neil is not expected to play, sitting out his fourth game with a hamstring injury.

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