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Babcock: St. Louis voted unanimously as Stamkos’ replacement

Feb 8, 2014, 11:37 AM EDT

Martin St. Louis Getty Images

Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider might not like it, but there was no fierce debate among Team Canada’s coaches and management after Steven Stamkos was ruled out for the Olympics.

The group held a formal vote and St. Louis was unanimously chosen over Flyers captain Claude Giroux and the remainder of the field. That revelation comes after Snider suggested that St. Louis made the team due to “politics” because Tampa Bay Lightning GM and Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman “had to pick his own guy.”

Snider added that anyone who thinks that Giroux doesn’t belong on Team Canada doesn’t know anything about hockey.

Detroit Red Wings and Team Canada coach Mike Babcock countered the argument that St. Louis’ addition was politically motivated.

“It would have been easy for Steve to say, ‘Marty is on the team because I said he’s on the team,’” Babcock told the Tampa Bay Times. “That, to me, is not how you manage. In the end we feel we had an opportunity (for input), and that’s all you can ask for.”

Given how rich and deep Canada’s talent pool is, it was inevitable that there would be amazing players left off the team, as was initially the case for St. Louis and still is for Giroux. That being said, St. Louis won the Art Ross Trophy last season and has 55 points in 57 contests in 2013-14 despite losing his superstar linemate, Stamkos.

He’s performed at an elite level without any meaningful decline or off-season since 2002-03 and was also one of the biggest omissions from Canada’s squad in 2010. At the age of 38, this will probably be his last Olympics.

Related:

Stamkos ‘excited’ for St. Louis, but being ruled out of Olympics was ‘a little shocking’

  1. ithasfourtoes - Feb 8, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    I’m a huge Flyers fan – Ed Snider was way off base here.

    The Olympic team has enough centers already. St. Louis plays the wing.

    Ignoring that positional need, I’d say Giroux’s talent vs. St. Louis is at best a coin flip right now.

    Really wish Snider would just let this one go. I know he might feel like he needs to come to Giroux’s “defense,” but I think statements like this just make it worse than it needs to be.

    That said… let’s go Flyers. Beat the Flames.

  2. flyerguy73 - Feb 8, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    I love my team, but he needs to just let it rest. Marty was the best option, and should have went. It’s done and over with! Stop beating a dead horse. Let’s get the win today, and enjoy the time off.

    • timmmah10 - Feb 10, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      Agree – It’s a different game at the Olympic level, and being a small speedy guy like St Louis has a distinct advantage over Giroux. It was clear they were building Canada around speed, and this choice just confirms it. St Louis as works on the penalty kill, at least, more often than Giroux does.

      As said in a comment above, it’s a coin flip, both are great players with slightly different skill sets.

  3. valoisvipers - Feb 8, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    I find that Marty as good as he is, was the wrong choice. Team Canada management went to great lengths to select players that were naturals to their position, left or right shot. Stampkos is a sniper goal scorer and should have been replaced with the same type of player which would be another sniper goal scorer James Neal. Stampkos was slotted to play with Kunitz and Crosby, a position that Neal fills at times currently with them. Nothing like having instant chemistry and familiarity on your top line in a short tournament.

    • pfhockey - Feb 8, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      I’m pretty sure Neal mostly plays with Malkin. Besides, who’s to say MSL will play on the first line? He could be slotted anywhere, he is a complete player. They could just bump up Sharp or Tavares if they needed to, or even Perry, Carter or Nash for that matter. I’m sure everyone on Canada can bury chances. MSL could be anywhere on the lineup, though I still think a Kunitz-Crosby-MSL will be pretty dynamic since Kunitz can finish and that no one has better vision than MSL and Crosby. Kunitz and Crosby work so well because Sid knows he’ll go to the net, that helps Marty a lot since Stamkos tends to go to the net a lot. And yep, I’m not Canadian.

      • joey4id - Feb 8, 2014 at 2:25 PM

        I can’t see Babcock breaking any of the following pairs since they play together on their respective teams. Perry-Getzlaf, Kinitz-Crosby, Sharp-Toews. The 4th line will be the shutdown line, and be centered by Bergeron. I see MSL playing with Kunitz and Crosby. He has spped, and very good hockey IQ. Many think he’ll be wearing suit when they open vs Norway.

      • pfhockey - Feb 8, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        I think they’ll experiment in the prelim-rounds if it doesn’t go so well.

      • timmmah10 - Feb 10, 2014 at 9:53 AM

        Just talking about this makes me so jealous of Canada’s roster! So stacked.

        Can’t wait for the fun to begin!

    • zetaone - Feb 8, 2014 at 7:46 PM

      Who in the world is “Stampkos”?

      • bethyybarryy - Feb 9, 2014 at 6:31 PM

        Thank you!

  4. joey4id - Feb 8, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    “Anybody that thinks that Claude Giroux doesn’t belong on the Canadian Olympic team, they don’t know anything about hockey,” Says the guy who approved the signing of Bryz, and trade of Carter & Richards. When was the last time the Flyers won the SC? Thank you Mr. Snider for telling us how you feel about TC’s hockey management. I hope they flash the gold medal in your face.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 8, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      Get over the Richards and Carter bs. Like 75% of Flyers fans I’d take Voracek, Simmonds, Schenn, and Couturier (plus picks/prospects) for Richards and selfish Carter all day. It was the right move, the Bryz move was not (neither was Bob) but let it go. Mason is playing as well as anyone right now.

      As for the Snider-Olympics “debacle”… let it go Ed. G can rest and get that much more motivation. Taking and holding a playoff spot is far more important than which players belong in international play.

      • joey4id - Feb 8, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        “Taking and holding a playoff spot is far more important than which players belong in international play.” Why do you think the player selection for US and Canada created so much controversy? You don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house. Anytime someone does, like Snider, I’ll be there to throw one back at them. Now! Get over it!

  5. pfhockey - Feb 8, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    Like I said, Snider has gone too far and I don’t know him so well so I’m not sure if he was somewhat emotional about it than thinking rationally. I know Giroux is still one of the best in the league, and I do agree that he is better than half of the guys on the team but you don’t win with making just an all-star team. You need players filling roles and making the right team. Look at teams like the Blues, Kings, and the B’s. Look at all the Olympic teams, they have snubs because they need role players too. Look at the WJC, sure USA doesn’t have big names like Canada every year but they get it done like the Swedes and Fins. The Fins find ways to medal at nearly every Olympic year despite their lack of star power. I’m sure he’s old enough to remember the Miracle on ice.

  6. mjw9326mjw9326 - Feb 8, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    St. Lois is still a great player and leader at his age. It likely is his last shot at it. Is Giroux that old? Not that i know of.

    • pfhockey - Feb 8, 2014 at 11:09 PM

      I know I should stop contributing to this topic but I think a player is a player and you shouldn’t be biased or be sentimental especially for picking teams at the WORLD level. I feel this was the right choice regardless of his age.

  7. har21441 - Feb 8, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    LOL giroux

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