Martin St. Louis emotional, but says little about Team Canada snub
Veteran left off Olympic hockey team for 2nd time
A game-winner and an empty-net goal from Martin St. Louis was the immediate byproduct of his Olympic rejection from his Tampa Bay Lightning boss Steve Yzerman.
But it was crystal clear after the Lightning's 4-2 win in Winnipeg against the Jets that the 38-year-old St. Louis was hurt Yzerman left him off him off the Canadian Olympic team's 25-player roster earlier on Tuesday.
It was the second time Yzerman has kept St. Louis out of an Olympic sweater after he played for Canada in 2006.
"You know for team Canada, you guys can't imagine how I feel," St. Louis told reporters following his career game-winning goal No. 64. "Obviously, I'm extremely disappointed. Let's just leave it at that."
When another reporter asked a follow-up question about the slight, he cut off the cross examiner and asked if anybody had a question about the Lightning's win.
Yzerman delivered the bad news to his captain with a phone call on Tuesday morning. The Canadian Olympic team executive director did not want to get into specifics as to why St. Louis did not make the roster nor did Yzerman want to divulge the nature of the conversation between he and St. Louis, other than to say St. Louis was emotional.
Yzerman reiterated several times in different interviews that the final roster decisions were made as a group. He could have overruled the rest of the management team and coaching staff. But the general feeling among the group was that there were more qualified candidates on the right side in Steven Stamkos, Corey Perry, Jeff Carter and Patrick Sharp.
Even if Stamkos doesn't recover from his broken right tibia in time for Sochi or the Canadian team suffers an injury among the right wingers, it is believed that Claude Giroux or James Neal would be next in line.
"It's tough," Stamkos said. "I don't know what more you can do or expect from him to be able to make the team. It's tough to see Marty as upset as he was. He worked extremely hard to get an opportunity to put himself in the mix.
"Hopefully, he can bounce back. We really need him on this team. He's been carrying the load. He's our leader. He's a warrior, a competitor. He's going to come out stronger, I think."
Last season, at 37, St. Louis became the oldest NHLer to win the Art Ross Trophy in the lockout-shortened year. He followed up that performance with 19 goals and 40 points in 43 games so far in the 2013-14 campaign.
Since the 2010 Olympics, nobody has produced more points than St. Louis.
- Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay) 296 points (271 games)
- Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay) 293 points (250 games)
- Henrik Sedin (Vancouver) 291 points (278 games)
- Daniel Sedin (Vancouver) 281 points (266 games)
- Alex Ovechkin (Washington) 269 points (263 games)
- Patrick Kane (Chicago) 269 points (268 games)
The Lightning was 12-5-0 when Stamkos broke his leg and has gone a remarkable 14-8-4 without its superstar sniper. St. Louis has played a big role in making sure Tampa Bay has remained in the playoff picture with efforts like he put forth on Tuesday.
In the morning, Lightning coach Jon Cooper was asked how he felt St. Louis was going to react to the bad news.
"Knowing Marty, this is probably going to motivate the snot out of him," Cooper said.
His two-goal effort against the Jets didn't change the coach's mind.
"That's why he's a champion," the Lightning coach said. "That's why he has a Stanley Cup Ring and that's why he's our captain. To go through something like that and respond the way he did, can't say enough about him."