Spencerport, New York native and Ottawa 67s forward Shane Prince was cut by USA Hockey and, understandably, was not too happy about it. Perhaps a bit less understandably, he decided to tell the Ottawa Citizen about it:
"I don’t know why I expected anything else from USA Hockey … I don’t even know why I ever got invited“When we first arrived, we were all told we would be given fair opportunity,” Prince said. “Then I get six, maybe seven shifts. . . . And then when I didn’t play the next game, I felt maybe I had an idea of what was happening.“If that’s fair opportunity, would somebody mind letting me know that? I really thought I could be a go-to guy on this team and I was never given that chance.”"
As much as Hockey Canada has been accused of having a bias against college players, USA Hockey has been accused of the same against CHLers. The US has definitely always been a bit more open minded about taking kids who go the CHL route, but of the seven who made this year’s team, six previously played with the NTDP. While it is fun to toss around the bias theory (and in the case of USA Hockey, perhaps a bit of revenge) the likely explanation is that USA Hockey/Hockey Canada is much more comfortable taking guys they have seen more and have a much bigger sample size of games and practices to work with.
I do think that some of the guys who were more on the bubble should have been given more of a chance, but the bottom line is I don’t think he’s as good as the guys who were kept on the roster, and probably didn’t have much of a role. Should Dean Blais have played him more in the warm up games to see if he had one? maybe. But it seems in the end some other guys made a stronger case for a spot.
Neate Sager points out an interesting wrinkle to how the US made their cuts that I hadn’t heard before:
"U.S. general manager Jim Johannson stood up after a team meal, named the 23 players who made the squad and asked them to leave, and then handed plane tickets to the six who were being sent home. No reasons given, Prince said"
The public and immediate dismissal of the kids who are cut rubs me the wrong way a bit, and I think it would be nice to have some sort of an exit interview as to why they didn’t make the team so that the coaches could make sure the kids aren’t frustrated enough to say something like, well, what Prince said.
In the end I don’t have any real problems with what Prince did. He obviously wanted to make the team badly and I’ll never fault a guy for wanting to represent his country. He probably could have said it a tad more diplomatically rather than laying all the blame at the feet of USA Hockey, but it’s obviously much better for a kid to be pissed that he was cut than to not care that he was cut.