Brian Burke praises Sens’ Ryan following Game 1 performance

Posted: 15/05/2017 in NHL, Sports
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Brian Burke showering Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan with compliments is not something most hockey fans expected to hear following Saturday’s Eastern Conference Final.

Or ever.

But then again, Ryan has arguably been Ottawa’s best forward this playoffs.

Burke and Ryan have never exactly seen eye to eye, and the pair have a colorful history.

Most will remember the highly publicized feud between the winger and the Calgary Flames president of hockey operations from the winter of 2014, where Burke called out Ryan for lacking intensity.

“That word (intensity) is not in his vocabulary,” Burke said at the time, according to ESPN’s Scott Burnside.

Burke had been the director of player personnel for Team USA when he called the talented winger out, and even left him off the roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The two traded barbs in the media, Ryan missed the opportunity to play at the Olympics, and the hockey world spun on.

Fast forward to today, and Burke has seemingly changed his opinion on the 30-year-old veteran.

“The difference in watching Bobby play in this year’s playoffs versus prior seasons is his commitment level,” Burke said Sunday, according to Craig Custance of ESPN.

Burke was also quick to point out the influence that head coach Guy Boucher has had on Ryan’s play.

“This coach has clearly gotten to him. When you add the intensity we were all hoping for when he turned pro – and he has brought that now – this is the package the Anaheim Ducks thought they were drafting.”

Ryan has been clutch for the Sens, racking up five goals and six assists in 13 games so far this postseason while also firing 30 shots on net.

Ottawa and Boucher will need a lot more of the same from Ryan if they hope to knock off the reigning Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

Game 2 goes Monday at PPG Paints Arena, with puck drop set for 8:00 p.m. ET.

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