Martin St.Louis has been named as the replacement for Steven Stamkos for Team Canada at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic games. Yesterday, Stamkos announced that his surgically repaired tibia would not be healed in time for competition. This opened the door for a replacement player to make the team and the luck man has turned out to be St. Louis.
He is only one year removed from winning the Art Ross trophy as the NHL’s leading point scorer and is leading his team once again with 54 points in 56 games, and the majority of those points coming without his trigger-man, Stamkos, in the Lightning lineup.
By: Adam Pyde – @Adam_Pyde
That Team Canada was able to leave the guy who scored the most points in hockey last season off their national team tells you something about the depth of talent available, and also indicates the monumental expectations the team has to live up to.
Justin Bourne has an excellent summary of why St. Louis is so qualified as a replacement.
So Martin St. Louis has been named the replacement for Steven Stamkos on Team Canada, and that’s a great thing for both him and the team. While he may not be the best player on the list of available names – Giroux, Neal, Seguin, Staal, Thornton and others were available as well – he’s the best suited for the Olympic Games.
Awhile back I wrote this about the difference between playing on NHL-sized ice and the big international rink:
There’s a huge misconception that because there’s more ice, you need faster players. I think you need better decision-makers with the puck. On the small sheet, you need players with great instincts who get the puck to the right areas without much deliberation. On Olympic ice, it can be alarming when you get the puck and realize you have a full second or two to figure out just what you want to do. “Paralysis by analysis” can be a thing, so composed, smart players will take you further than spazzes.
Marty St. Louis is the human embodiment of those characteristics. He’s smart, patient and skilled, not to mention experienced enough to not panic when the pace of the game becomes frenzied.
St. Louis will also be extra motivated after his only previous Olympic experience came in 2006 when Team Canada finished in 7th place. With this being his last kick at the can you can expect that he’ll bring his A game.
At age 38 he can’t afford another disappointment. An Olympic gold medal is also the only major award in hockey that St.Louis does not have. He has the chance to join a very exclusive club of individuals with Olympic gold, IIHF gold, a Stanley Cup and a Canada Cup.