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Surprise omissions to American Olympic Team

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According to NBC Sports, the United States announced its roster on Wednesday for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in men's hockey. The announcement was made at Michigan Stadium, immediately after the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout in the Winter Classic.

It is no doubt that American men's hockey general manager David Poile (like his Canadian counterpart Steve Yzerman in a week's time) had some difficult decisions to make.

There were four very significant omissions from the American squad. The list includes Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, Ottawa Senators right winger Bobby Ryan, and defensemen Keith Yandle of the Phoenix Coyotes and Dustin Byfuglien of the Winnipeg Jets.

Bishop is third in the NHL in wins (20), and goals against average (1.89) and second in save percentage (.935), but was passed over for Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings, Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings.

Ryan was leading the Senators with 18 goals and was left off. National Hockey League hall of famer Mike Modano was equally as surprised. On Wednesday he tweeted, "How the hell does Bobby Ryan not make the USA Hockey Olympic team!!!?".

Yandle meanwhile led the Coyotes in scoring in 2012-13 with 30 points and led Phoenix in assists this year with 21. Finding that kind of offense from your defense is difficult to find.

Finally, the omission of Byfuglien also comes as a minor surprise because of his size of 6'5", 265 pounds. However one might think the reason Byfuglien was left off was because he would not have the same opportunities to utilize his size on the wider Olympic ice.

The United States play their first game on February 13 against Slovakia. Yzerman will announce Team Canada on January 7.

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