When GM Steve Yzerman left Martin St. Louis off the final Team Canada roster for the Sochi Olympics, he lamented that he could “honestly say that's not a decision that I enjoy making."
Finally putting St. Louis on the team on Thursday was likely a decision he didn’t enjoy either, seeing as it came at the expense of Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos, who pulled out of the Winter Games due to still-rehabbing injured leg.
This rights a wrong for Team Canada. St. Louis has had a tremendous season for the Bolts in Stamkos’ absence. He still has the wheels to compete on international ice, and his versatility at forward is an asset – while other forward need a particular type of player on his line in order to click, St. Louis has proven annually that he can turn almost anyone into a better scorer statistically.
That’s a great trait to possess when your initial task in the Winter Games is likely to be on a line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, who obviously have their own chemistry. This could be a line that can grind as well as it can score with flourish. Plus, St. Louis has a trigger man this season in Stamkos' absence: He has his highest goals per game average (0.45) since 2007. "I've gotta try to create for myself a little bit more, become a little more of a shooter I guess," said St. Louis earlier this season.
If it doesn’t click, St. Louis can easily slot in anywhere in the lineup, in any role.
St. Louis is 38 years old. This was going to be his last kick at the Olympic can, having played for Team Canada in 2006 and then having been left off in 2010.
With due respect to the other Canadian snubs – and especially to Claude Giroux, who rebounded to state a strong case for Team Canada – St. Louis was the right choice.
And now he can grab a beer with Steve Yzerman without about 10 minutes of death stares and deep sighing.