USA - (DP + KO)

I purposely did not put an "equals" sign at the end of that equation for two reasons. One - I was never good at math and definitely do not plan on solving it or using any algorithm's where I can substitute numbers to come up with an answer; Two - because the end result is yet to be determined, and although DP and KO are not part of this year's winter Olympics, I still hope to see USA achieve gold.

Many Islander fans were hoping to see Kyle Okposo make the USA Olympic roster this year. In his second full season in the NHL, Kyle has amassed 40 points in 61 games played (13 goals, 27 assists). He's been having a career season; game in and game out he has been the Islanders best forward since opening night against the Pittsburgh Penguins back on October 3rd. Many believe he will be the future captain of this team once Doug Weight takes his last lap around Coliseum ice as well. He has been a leader both on and off the ice and plays with determination. Anyone can notice how hard he hustles, (I don't think there has been one game where he's gone unnoticed), and how badly he wants to make a difference on every shift he takes. Fans have been treated to numerous occasions where Okposo finds a way to make something out of nothing in plays where opportunities to generate a scoring chance were slim. He's the real deal and one of the main pieces when it comes to rebuilding this franchise.

But he was not chosen for the Team USA roster.

Rick DiPietro is a former participant in this tournament, having shared the netminding duties with Robert Esche back in 2006. Esche was the starting goaltender, but Rick displayed the capabilities of being the future USA goalie for years to come in the games that he started. Had he not been injured all of last season and the majority of this one as well, DP very likely would have been included with Ryan Miller as a competitor for the number one spot for the Red, White and Blue.

I have been wondering throughout this tournament how these two players would have affected Team USA's recent success. Let's face it, not many were expecting them to go 3-0 in the first few games. So far they have been entertaining and down right good. Miller played a superb game against future Hall of Famer, Martin Brodeur on Sunday night, and clutch performances by Jamie Langenbrunner and Chris Drury helped solidify a win against their biggest rival in these winter games.

But the most important games still lie ahead. Regardless of the outcome, whether Team USA goes on to win Gold or not, I will continue to wonder what difference these two athletes would have made. It's very hard to say that Brian Burke made the wrong choice in not choosing Okposo considering this team's performance thus far, but I still feel that he deserved to be on this squad.

It will be interesting to see if they both can make it four years from now, where certain veterans will likely be incapable of playing in these type of match-ups. However, Miller will be even more seasoned and guys like Parise, Backes and Stastny will continue to get better.

What do you think? Should Okposo have been on this team having the experience of a life-time? Will DP be able to reclaim his Olympic abilities and return to the USA roster in the future?

-Rob McGowan

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