TORONTO -- Team USA players did not appreciate a tweet Phil Kessel posted Tuesday after a 4-2 loss to Team Canada eliminated them from the World Cup of Hockey 2016.
Kessel played for the United States at the past two Olympics and led the 2014 Sochi Games in scoring with eight points in six games. But general manager Dean Lombardi did not select him for Team USA for the World Cup, and he is recovering from July surgery for a hand injury.
"Just sitting around the house tonight [with] my dog," Kessel wrote on his verified Twitter account. "Felt like I should be doing something important, but couldn't put my finger on it."
Forward David Backes called it "disappointing."
"I understand there's hard feelings if you weren't picked for the team," Backes said Wednesday. "But … as a team guy and as a guy that stands by my teammates win, lose or draw, it's a little distasteful and aggravating. …
"Everyone's got a Twitter account, and you can have freedom of speech to say whatever you want, so be it. But those comments don't get lost in the fray, and those comments are there and have been read and I think will be remembered when whatever happens going forward happens going forward."
Forward Zach Parise said: "Didn't Phil have surgery? I don't think he could even play anyway. His tweet didn't really make sense."
Kessel told ESPN later Wednesday that the tweet was not intended to knock the players.
"Of course it wasn't directed at the players," he said in a text message. "I know how tough it is to play the game. It wasn't directed at anyone."