When Hockey Canada unveiled its 2014 Winter Olympics men's roster last month, Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos was on the team. The only problem was he was out with a broken leg and hadn't played since November. His recovery was going faster than anticipated, and Hockey Canada hoped Stamkos would recover in time to be in game shape for Sochi. But yesterday, the Lightning announced that his recovery was ongoing and that he had not healed enough to be cleared for play.
So Stamkos is out for Sochi. And his teammate Martin St. Louis is in.
Hockey Canada announced today that St. Louis would take Stamkos' roster spot on the 2014 Olympic team. This will be his second trip to the Olympics — St. Louis was also a member of the 2006 Canadian team.
"They called me yesterday," he 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."
Some fans and analysts thought the 38-year-old St. Louis would be on the team when the roster was announced. But he was left off, and since then has gone on a tear, racking up eight goals and 15 points in 14 games. That includes a four-goal night on January 18 against the Sharks.
"Of course I was bitter, but it wasn't motivation," St. Louis said about being left off the roster. "I've been motivated for 10 years. If you are not motivated you are not considered for these things."
Stamkos said he's happy that his teammate will be the one filling in for him in Sochi.
"It's great for Marty. If there is anyone in our locker room that deserves it from day one it is Marty," Stamkos said. But, he added, "I don't see this as Marty replacing me. I see this as Marty getting the opportunity he deserves."
Team Canada's first game of the 2014 Olympics is February 13 against Norway. The tournament begins February 12.
Photo: Hockey Canada