The biggest question when Steven Stamkos wasn’t cleared to play in the Olympics was who would replace him. Steve Yzerman said the decision would come within forty-eight hours, and this morning it was made. Martin St. Louis! Who better to replace the Lightning star than the team captain.
St. Louis, 38, will be going to his second Olympics, having played for Canada in 2006. It’ll be his first international tournament since the 2009 IIHF World Championship, when he had 15 points in nine games.
“They called me yesterday,” St. Louis said. “Great opportunity for me.”
“It’s great for Marty,” Stamkos said. “If there is anyone in our locker room that deserved it from day one it is Marty. I don’t see this as Marty replacing me. I see this as Marty getting the opportunity he deserves.”
St. Louis understood once the announcement about Stamkos was made that he would be a top candidate to replace him, so the news did not come as a surprise.
“Everybody that knows me knows I’m a pretty emotional guy. There has been a lot of that the last month. I heard from [Stamkos] that he wasn’t going so I prepared myself,” St. Louis said.
St. Louis is tied for 16th in the NHL in points this season with 54. He was considered to be of the top snubs when the Canadian roster was originally announced in early January and his name was not on the list. It left Lightning fans outraged, especially after Marty’s four goal game on January 18th against the San Jose Sharks. It was the second time in four years Hockey Canada and Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left him off the roster.
“I’m just glad to get the opportunity,” St. Louis said. “I feel like my whole career has been a back-door entrance. This is no different. It’s a big opportunity and I’m glad to be there.”