Most American Photoshop Credit: Vinny Piccolo
Kevin SchultzWhen USA Hockey chooses their team for the Sochi Games on January 1 — a made for TV spectacle following the Winter Classic, no less — will they choose to leave their second best player at home?
Yes, I said they might not select the second best American Hockey Player born in the United States of America.
No one can argue with Patrick Kane being the Best Active American Ice Hockey player. He acts like Number One off the ice, drinking and partying his way through the off-season like a good American youth. Then, he comes up aces during the season. Currently, he is second in the NHL in points behind Canada’s Best Export Since Celine Dion, a.k.a. Sidney Crosby.
By process of elimination, America’s Second Best Hockey Player is currently Kyle Okposo of the New York Hockey Islanders.
How do I know this? I looked up his statistics on Extra Skater and it says that he has more points than any American other than Kane and Phil Kessel. And Kessel doesn’t count because he plays in Canada for the Maple Leafs (*cough* traitor *cough*).
If that’s not enough, Okposo must be doing something right, as he has outspoken Yahoo! writer Ryan Lambert on his side. That, in itself, is quite a feat.
So what’s the knock on Okposo? Well there are a few understandable but inaccurate arguments.
“Kyle Okposo plays on a bad team, therefore he is a bad player.” Well, last year there were three Hart Trophy nominees for best player in the league: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and John Tavares. Two of those players are/were on bad teams. Heck, all three came from the Eastern Conference, which is a Conference filled with bad teams.
“Kyle Okposo’s career body of work is not good enough.” Sorry, the Olympics are not the same as the Hall of Fame. One is about winning as many games as you can in February 2014 and the other is about a body of work over the course of a career.
While there may have been question marks about Okposo previously, the best course of action is to take the hot player when they are hot because the Olympics are about winning now. Not hypothetically winning if a player has had a great career. Remember Nagano in 1998, when America sent a bunch of over-the-hill players who had great careers? Yeah, that was a mess (literally a mess; they trashed their hotel rooms after crashing out of the tournament). It’s about winning now with players that are currently healthy and are currently playing well. Mr. Okposo is both healthy and playing well.
“Kyle Okposo is a product of John Tavares.” Okposo had 20 points in 48 games last year, playing most of the season on John Tavares’ wing. This year, he has 37 in 40 playing most of the season on John Tavares’ wing. Sorry, no.
For goodness sakes, LOOKIT THIS:
In conclusion, Kyle Okposo is America. He can ride bald eagles and score hockey points, which are both requirements for selection to the US Olympic Ice Hockey Team. Therefore, Kyle Okposo should be on a plane to Russia in about two months time and not because he outed a government spying agency.