Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis goes from snub to sub as he replaces his teammate Steven Stamkos on Team Canada’s 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Men’s Hockey team.
“They called me yesterday (Wednesday),” St. Louis said. “Great opportunity for me. I think if you asked Stamkos who he wants to replace him it would be me. So I’ll do the best I can.”
It was surprising from the beginning that St. Louis was left off of the team after leading the NHL in points with 60 (17G / 43A) in 48 games. Since the last Winter Olympics St. Louis has led all NHL player in points with 310. The next closest happens to be Stamkos (293), followed by Henrik Sedin (292) and the man who was probably Canada’s second choice behind St. Louis, Claude Giroux (284).
“I don’t see this as Marty replacing me. I see this as Marty getting the opportunity he deserves,” Stamkos said. “This has been a dream of mine since a kid,” said Stamkos. “You want to be able to represent your country at the biggest stage in game.
St. Louis instantly becomes a candidate to play on the right wing with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz.
Team Canada received some bad news on Wednesday when the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that centre Steven Stamkos is not medically cleared to play in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
In the Lightning’s official news release they announced that Stamkos underwent a CT Scan (which offers a three-dimensional view of the bone) this afternoon and then met with Lightning Medical Director Ira Gutentag, who was unable to clear Stamkos for game participation at this time. Rehabilitation with the Lightning training staff will continue and he will be reevaluated in 2-3 weeks.
Stamkos had been working extremely hard to try and get ready for Sochi, but Team Canada they will be without the 23-year-old sniper come February 13th vs. Norway.
“Today is obviously very disappointing for me,” Stamkos said. “I honestly believe that we did everything possible in order to have my injured leg ready in time for the Olympics, but I realize you can’t force healing. I know, in the best interest of my long term health, I cannot represent Canada in Sochi, as much as I would like to. I would like to thank the training staff for their dedication and hard work and I look forward to returning to the Lightning once cleared by the medical team.”
Despite not having Stamkos, Team Canada has number of more than capable options to choose as his replacement. The most notable potential replacement has to be Stamkos’ Lightning teammate Martin St. Louis. Team Canada’s executive director Steve Yzerman is also Tampa Bay’s General Manager, so he could feel some pressure to add last season’s Art Ross Trophy winner. If it is not St. Louis, it will likely be one of the following:
Claude Giroux (PHI) – Giroux has 18 goals and 37 assists (55 points) in 57 games despite positing just seven assists in the first 15 games.
Eric Staal (CAR) – Staal has 44 points (14G / 30A) and has four goals and five assists in 10 games since being snubbed from Team Canada.
James Neal (PIT) – Neal has totalled 18 goals and 24 assists (42 points) in 35 games thus far. He could be selected to play with his Penguins teammates Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz.
Digging a little deeper – Joe Thornton (SJ), Taylor Hall (EDM) and Tyler Seguin (DAL).
In honour of #StamoksWatch and this unfortunate announcement, this Stamkos Team Canada jersey that we created is as close as we will get to seeing Stamkos donning the Red and White!
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