VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Former NHL star and current NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick was hardly the only one critical of Brian Burke's selection of New York Rangers forward Chris Drury for the U.S. Olympic team, but he was perhaps the most prominent.
Drury has been viewed by some as an overpaid free-agent bust with the New York Rangers. In a radio interview a few days after the U.S. roster announcement at the Winter Classic, Roenick said Drury didn't deserve a third trip to the Olympics (via CTV):
"Not to take anything away from the guy, because he's had such a great career, but for Chris Drury to be on the team, it baffles me," Roenick told Toronto radio station AM 640.
"I know he's a great leader, and if he's captain of the team, he'll be a great captain. But I just don't see him being as good for the team as a guy like Gomez would be or T.J. Oshie. Oshie would bring so much energy to this team, and this type of format in an international event, that I don't understand how those two guys aren't on the team."
Well, through three games in Vancouver, Drury has been one of the best forwards and veteran leaders: sacrificing his body, playing solidly on the penalty kill, and scoring a critical goal in Sunday's stunner over Canada.
So Roenick has decided to place his skate in his mouth and admit he was wrong, first on NBC late Sunday during the Sweden/Finland game and then again on WFAN in New York Monday morning (download audio here). From the "Benigno and Roberts" show:
"I think being in New York, I owe a huge apology, both in the New York area or across the country, to Chris Drury, who I said probably should not have been there, here in the Olympics. [He's] been a monster for Team USA. He's been one of their best players. I'll eat crow when crow needs to be eaten. This is my national apology to Chris Drury. He's just been a great, great hockey player."
In fairness to Roenick, Drury is proving a lot of doubters incorrect with this play. Like, for example, Rangers fans wondering why he can "come up with big goals for the U.S. Olympic team in a game against the loaded Canadians when he can't do the same for the Rangers when they are playing the Columbus Blue Jackets."
The answer, of course, is that Marty Brodeur doesn't play for Columbus.