Martin St. Louis, Team Canada
St. Louis plays at an extraordinarily high level despite his age. A season ago he won the Art Ross trophy, which goes to the NHL’s scoring leader, as well as his third Lady Bing, which is awarded to the most gentlemanly player in the league. This season he was named captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and has continued to produce a point per game despite being without elite line-mate Steven Stamkos for much of the year. With Lightning GM Steve Yzerman as a member of the Team Canada selection committee, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that St. Louis would be selected – especially since he is one of the true good guys in the game and this is his last Olympic opportunity.
However, that isn’t how it played out, which is a shame. St. Louis was left off the roster, much to the surprise of many, and has since taken the announcement very personally. Canada chose much more controversial picks such as Jeff Carter, Chris Kunitz, and Rick Nash to go over St. Louis. They’ve given some reasons, but FAM isn’t buying it. During the selection process the committee said they liked lines that have existing chemistry (Crosby/Kunitz, Perry/Getzlaf) due to playing together in the NHL. St. Louis easily could’ve been plugged in with Stamkos, who is set to return for the Olympics. Very few duos have produced more together than St. Louis and Stamkos. This is one of a few inconsistencies in their reasoning for leaving St. Louis off.
Beyond the impact on team Canada, this could impact the relationship of St. Louis and Yzerman with the Tampa Bay Lightning. St. Louis was furious with Yzerman for leaving him off the team in 2010, before Yzerman joined the Lightning. Now, Yzerman has done it again, despite having a relationship with him now. St. Louis is reportedly very upset with Yzerman behind closed doors. Yzerman should’ve gone to bat for Marty and got him on the team one way or another. 1) Because it makes Team Canada better. 2) Because it keeps his professional relationship with Marty at the Lightning strong. 3) Because St. Louis deserves it.
Yzerman alienated the best player in Lightning history, and failed in a major way.
Claude Giroux, Team Canada
A year ago Giroux was a lock to make the team, but after a slow start to the season questions began to arise about his spot on the team. Giroux was able to get on track and perform well as this season progressed, and seemingly was on track with team Canada again. Center is probably Team Canada’s deepest position, so it was always going to be iffy.
However, once news was released that he was not selected to the team, word started to trickle out that it may not have been his on ice abilities that led to his exclusion from Team Canada. Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux have what one person called a ‘genuine hatred’ for each other stemming from their playoff series in 2012. There have been some rumors that Crosby said he did not want to play on a team, or share a locker room, with Giroux. If that’s true, and you can only have one or the other, Crosby is the easy choice.
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Bobby Ryan, Team USA
Team USA needs scoring, and if there is one thing Bobby Ryan can provide, it is goals, and lots of them. He proved just that when scored a goal and an assist in the 2010 Olympics, and scored 5 goals and 2 assists in 8 games at the 2012 World Championship for Team USA. He has scored 30 plus goals each of the last four seasons, and is on pace for another 36 goal season this year. So why the snub? Scott Piole said it was because they didn’t feel he would be a top 6 forward, and his skating didn’t fit will on the 3rd line as a checker.
It was a pretty big gamble by the Team USA selection committee, and ultimately one FAM thinks they will regret. The Olympic sized ice lends itself to some of Ryan’s strong skating ability and hands. You saw that in 2012. His ability to create lanes is something Team USA lacks. Without many true scorers on the roster, he will be missed in Sochi.
The move came with its own set of drama as well. Calgary Flames president and committee member, Brian Burke, said Ryan lacked intensity. Ryan responded saying he felt “degraded” and called Burke “gutless.” When Burke reached out in an attempt to talk to him, Ryan ignored the phone calls and voicemails and refused to speak with him. Injuries, among other things, can cause rosters to be shuffled and players added. You’d think Ryan would be one of the first, so burning bridges and calling names is a bad look for all parties involved.
Time will tell if this was a good move, or the committee over-thinking it and making a mistake.