Stamkos replaced by St. Louis
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis has been selected to replace injured teammate Steven Stamkos on Canada's roster for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. St. Louis will cap off an impressive year by playing in his second Olympics, having played for Canada in 2006 in Turin, heading to Russia preparing to play his first international tournament since the 2009 IIHF World Championship.
Following the news from Tampa Bay that Stamkos has not been medically cleared to resume playing following his broken leg, the 23-year-old was forced to withdraw from the Olympic squad with his Lightning team-mate, St. Louis, replacing him on the Canadian roster.
St. Louis is tied for 16th in the NHL in points this season with 54, and the experienced wing was considered extremely unlucky not to be named in the original squad named by Hockey Canada general manager Steve Yzerman, who also acts as Tampa’s GM. Given his pedigree, hockey betting fans had been expecting him to make the squad.
The Canada call-up is the latest impressive honour for St. Louis, who has spent his career upsetting the odds after going undrafted and the veteran admitted he was delighted to have been given the call-up following Stamkos’ withdrawal.
"They called me yesterday. It’s a 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. I'm just glad to get the opportunity. 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."
Heading into these Games as the strong gold medal favourites with Paddy Power, Canada will be expected to be the team to beat in Sochi, although the 2010 gold medallists will have their work cut out in the group stage after being drawn alongside Norway, Finland and Austria.