So Martin St. Louis has been named the replacement for Steven Stamkos on Team Canada, and that’s a great thing for both him and the team. While he may not be the best player on the list of available names – Giroux, Neal, Seguin, Staal, Thornton and others were available as well – he’s the best suited for the Olympic Games.
Awhile back I wrote this about the difference between playing on NHL-sized ice and the big international rink:
There’s a huge misconception that because there’s more ice, you need faster players. I think you need better decision-makers with the puck. On the small sheet, you need players with great instincts who get the puck to the right areas without much deliberation. On Olympic ice, it can be alarming when you get the puck and realize you have a full second or two to figure out just what you want to do. “Paralysis by analysis” can be a thing, so composed, smart players will take you further than spazzes.
Marty St. Louis is the human embodiment of those characteristics. He’s smart, patient and skilled, not to mention experienced enough to not panic when the pace of the game becomes frenzied.
This is a guy a year removed from an Art Ross trophy who’s again leading his team in points with 54 in 56 games. He’s a great selection.
At this stage in their careers Claude Giroux is probably a better player than Marty St. Louis. But for an international event on big ice that starts in a week, the latter was the correct choice for Canada.