I think everyone in the Bolts Nation can rest just a little bit easier now. Yesterday, it was announced that Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos would not be medically cleared in enough time to make the trip with Team Canada to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. This left people to wonder who would be able to fill the hole left by the Lightning center. It looks as if Team Canada has found their answer.
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) February 6, 2014
As I said yesterday, there are a million and one arguments as to why St. Louis should have been on Team Canada’s roster in the first place. We have heard them all a million times. There is no denying that St. Louis I one of the best and most dedicated players to ever play the game.
Some may discredit the call up by referring to him as second best. I call it one of two things (maybe even both.) It is a testament to his playing ability that he is the first one that they went to when they needed help. This means that they now realize the value he has, and the amazing skill set that he can bring to their team. Also, this affords St. Louis, what could potentially be his last chance to represent his country on Olympic ice.
So far this season, St. Louis has continued to dazzle on the ice. He has played in all 56 games the Lightning have played this season. In that time, he has scored 25 goals and 29 assists for a team leading total of 54 points to accompany his plus-16 rating.
St. Louis has been on Olympic ice before, as he was a part of Team Canada in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino where the Lightning winger scored 2 goals and an assist for a total of 3 points in 6 games.
So, while the Tampa Bay Lightning faithful are disappointed that we cannot watch Steven Stamkos’ triumphant return to the ice, it is a good feeling to know that our captain is finally getting the respect that he so richly deserved in the first place.
Men’s Ice Hockey competition kicks off on Wednesday, February 12th.
What are your thoughts on St. Louis’ addition to the Team Canada roster? Do you think Yzerman made the right call? Does this change your outlook on Team Canada heading into the games? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.