So, Martin St. Louis has been chosen to fill in for Steven Stamkos on Team Canada.
The best choice? I’m not sure about that, but it’s clearly the most popular decision that GM Steve Yzerman and the Canadian brain trust could have made. And certainly the safest.
St. Louis was probably the most surprising snub when the rosters were announced last month. The reigning Art Ross Trophy winner was off to a good start and had such terrific chemistry with Stamkos that it seemed inevitable they’d be drafted in as a duo.
But clearly there was something missing from St. Louis’s game that led to him being passed over in January. It’s been suggested that there were concerns about his defensive commitment and his ability to adapt his game to the big ice. Those worries haven’t gone away during the last month, but his response to the snub — 16 points in 14 games; being held without a point only twice — suggests a player who was highly motivated to prove himself worthy of a second look if a spot opened up.