It was announced yesterday that Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos will not be joining his fellow Canadians at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Less than twenty-four hours later, Team Canada’s brass, headed by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, have selected Lightning captain and last season’s Art Ross winner Martin St. Louis to the team.
Martin St. Louis named to Team Canada as replacement for Steven Stamkos. #Sochi2014
— Scott Billeck (@ScottBilleck) February 6, 2014
When Canada’s original roster was announced on January 7, it was St. Louis who the public considered the most surprising omission. St. Louis had also been left off the 2010 team to the surprise of many. It seemed like, for whatever reason, number 26 on the Bolts was out of favour with Team Canada, even though his club team’s GM had final say in selecting the roster.
I get the feeling, Yzerman had to fight very hard to have his trusted captain on Canada’s Olympic roster. Stevie Y knows what Marty is capable of, he sees the former Hart trophy winner on a nightly basis. But Yzerman took the diplomatic route when naming Canada’s squad; he allowed his generals to have their say, and some of the men tasked with assisting Yzerman in choosing a roster preferred younger and bigger players instead.
St. Louis went on a tear after he found out he would not be joining his GM in Russia for the Olympics. The highlight of his surge was a 4-goal Saturday afternoon performance against the San Jose Sharks that sent Twitter ablaze with cries of support for the Lightning’s little warrior.
Good for Martin St. Louis. He’s been an underdog his entire career even though he has accomplished everything at the highest level. St. Louis is a Hart trophy winner (MVP), two-time Art Ross winner, and Stanley Cup champion.
Perhaps it was the obvious displeasure shown by the cagey veteran that convinced Yzerman’s assistants to get this guy on this team. I mean, St. Louis was openly disappointed and broken hearted about not making the initial squad. However, instead of pouting, Marty took it out on his opponents. He is full of fire; extremely determined; and if I’m looking for a hero in Sochi, I like my chances with the Bolts’ captain.
Stamkos may have had a hand in this, too. I am entirely speculating: Stamkos has often credited St. Louis as a major influence and mentor. I wonder if Stamkos mentioned the name “Martin St. Louis” when he talked on the phone with Yzerman yesterday; when he broke the bad news to his boss. Who knows? And even if Stamkos did mention the name “Martin St. Louis,” doesn’t necessarily mean that would’ve helped Marty’s cause, but it is an interesting thought.
According to various reports about who was in strong consideration to replace Stamkos, Team Canada really couldn’t have screwed this up. Claude Giroux, Eric Staal, James Neal; any of those players would have been great additions to the team, but it is nice that Marty got the call. Canada was rooting for St. Louis to be named, and Canada will cheer loudly when he makes an impact in Sochi.