SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- After Steven Stamkos decided yesterday that he wouldn’t play in the Olympics as he continues to make his way back from an injury, Hockey Canada announced that he will be replaced by his Tampa Bay Lightning teammate Martin St. Louis.
When St. Louis, 38, didn't make the Canadian Olympic team on Jan. 7, many people felt he had gotten snubbed. Now, thanks to Stamkos’ injury, St. Louis will have the chance to prove all his supporters right.
The man he replaced can certainly be counted as one of them.
"He's going to go over there and play whatever role possible. I personally think he's going to play a big role," Stamkos said of St. Louis. "The character that he has, the way he's played in big-game situations in the past. I mean, he's won individual awards, he's won the team championships, he's been in those situations.”
"I heard from Stammer that he wasn't going to go, so I knew it was a possibility," St. Louis said in Tampa on Thursday. "So I guess I was prepared for it. I think we've got to understand how hard he's tried and worked to put himself in the position he's in and give himself a chance. Obviously he's disappointed and I'm disappointed for him. Stammer's a true professional and he's done everything he can this past month to get back to the Lightning first and hopefully to Team Canada."
The scrappy forward is having a strong year with 54 points (25 goals, 29 assists) this season in the NHL.
Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman is also the general manager in Tampa Bay so he is very familiar with what St. Louis will bring to the team.
"I try to play the game the way I know how to play," St. Louis said. "And if I impress the people along the way and I get supporters, that's great."