31 December 2009
No Lightning players made the Team Canada roster. Though leading up to the announcement, the only player based on his performance that was still in contention of making the team was Martin St. Louis. Lecavalier's season was not Olympic worthy, and it has been said that he is not a favorite Yzerman based on his style of play (said Jeff Marek on the Kurtenblog radio show a couple of weeks ago). Stamkos had an excellent start and even played himself into being one of the names that was talked about but in the end, his brilliant start came to a slow down.
This is what St. Louis said to the media today (quotes from The Province):
“If I was going to be part of the team, I would have heard by now,” St. Louis said after the Lightning’s morning skate ahead of Wednesday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
“It’s very disappointing but it’s part of life,” said St. Louis. “There’s a lot of disappointing things that go on in your life and you just have to live through it, fight thought it.
“It’s a hard to team to make,” added St. Louis. “You could make two teams. There are a lot of good players who are left off.”
And what he said was true. With the amount of talent in Canada, you could make two teams. Two good teams. But the decision came down to which players Steve Yzerman et al. thought would give Canada the best shot at winning gold. Whether you consider it a snub or just realized that it isn't always about YOU (the player), Yzerman had one of the hardest jobs in the world today because you knew that many players would be disappointed. Players like St. Louis, Ryan Smyth, Shane Doan, Vincent Lecavalier, Jeff Carter, Mike Green, Dion Phaneuf, Brad Richards...the list could go on.
Perhaps it was the age of St. Louis? Maybe it was that even though St. Louis had Olympic experience from 2006, Yzerman wanted to have the team get younger? The forwards on the roster are quite young, no? Or maybe his size? Or maybe Yzerman was matching his roster against what the Russian team looked like? Or maybe you look at it like this: if you want St. Louis, who do you take out of the announced roster? Corey Perry? Rick Nash? Dany Heatley?
Either way, all Canadian fans care about in the end is if we win gold at home. It's a big deal here to win gold, and an even bigger deal because it will be at home. If the team doesn't win gold, it will be considered a disappointment. That's the amount of pressure that the players will face in Vancouver.
I think Ryan Smith said it best today when asked about how he felt:
"I believe they picked the 23 guys for a reason, and I know there's a lot of hockey between now and then, but you've just got to go out and play and carry forth," Smyth said. "If an accident happens, it happens, but you can't think about that.
"These guys are going to represent our country with pride, and I'll be their No. 1 fan."
So for all the b-tching I've heard from Lightning media and fans about St. Louis being 'snubbed', I really don't think it was a snub. The word is the wrong word to describe it. I'm sure it wasn't that St. Louis was being snubbed on purpose, it just worked out that other players were a better fit for the team that Yzerman wanted to put together.