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There was certainly some debate about those players left off the Team USA Olympic roster when it was announced after the Winter Classic on New Year's Day, but Team Canada is a whole other beast. While some very good players could have arguments made to be on the American squad, the number of those not going to Sochi (for now) for Canada is much greater.
So when general manager Steve Yzerman and his staff put together this roster, tough decisions were to be made. As you can see, the 25-man team representing the Canadians is a mix of many of the projections made leading up to Tuesday morning's announcement.
With that announcement come the snubs, a.k.a. "the guys who are next in line should someone get hurt."
Here are the 10 biggest Team Canada snubs:
• Eric Staal: The elder Staal has suited up for Team Canada 32 times since 2006, including the 2010 Games in Vancouver. But strength down the middle, injuries and a drop in production will see him watching instead.
• Taylor Hall: He's in the top ten of scoring among Canadian forwards with 41 points in 38 games. Kevin Lowe is on the Hockey Canada staff. Four years from now, if the NHL goes to Pyeongchang, Hall will be there.
• Dan Boyle: Yzerman went with a younger defense corps. Well, young compared to 37-year old Boyle, who was on the 2010 team.
• Corey Crawford: Coming off a Stanley Cup, Crawford was battling it out with Mike Smith for the no. 3 spot, but declining numbers and an injury in early December didn't help his case.
• James Neal: Neal has 16 goals and 34 points in 24 games this season with the Penguins. If Yzerman liked the Crosby-Kunitz chemistry, does the fact that Evgeni Malkin is on Team Russia play into the decision to leave Neal home?
• Logan Couture: The news came out Monday night that Couture will miss the next 3-4 weeks after he undergoes surgery on his hand. He has 35 points in 43 games this season with the Sharks. How high is he on the list of injury replacements should Yzerman need a wing?
• Brent Seabrook: Another guy from the 2010 team who is not returning. Yzerman went 4/4 as far as left-/right-handed split on the blue line. Seabrook is third in scoring among Canadian defensemen with 31 points in 45 games.
• Claude Giroux: The Flyers captain is tied with John Tavares as the highest scoring Canadians over the past three seasons. After a slow start to this season, he has 38 points in his last 42 games. Yzerman did make it sound during the announcement that Giroux could be next man up should a forward injury arise.
• Martin St. Louis: This is now twice that St. Louis has seen his NHL general manager leave him off an Olympic team. With an Art Ross Trophy last season and 38 points in 41 games this season -- many of those without Steven Stamkos -- it'll be interesting to hear his comments when asked about being left off.
• Joe Thornton: Canada is strong down the middle, but Thornton is versatile, having played on the wing in the past. That and he's a helluva setup man, with 43 of his 48 points coming via the assist.
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