Ryan Getzlaf’s four point night against Edmonton Sunday showed he was healthy enough for Team Canada at the Vancouver Olympics.
Reports out of Vancouver confirm Getzlaf is in for the tournament. Getzlaf was penciled in as Team Canada’s second line center until he suffered a nasty looking fall only a week before the Olympics. After limping out of the arena that night on crutches and in a plastic boot Getzlaf appeared to be out of the biggest hockey tournament Canadians have seen for decades. However Getzlaf recovered very quickly and after missing only two NHL games returned Sunday to show he was clearly ready to face the world’s best in Vancouver.
With Getzlaf in doubt for the tournament Team Canada director Steve Yzerman tapped Jeff Carter as his replacement. He was even told to fly to Vancouver just in case, since it was so close to the start of the the Olympic tournament. Carter has the combination of size, skill and grit that Canadian coaches and hockey fans love.
However, the hottest Canadian player right now (Steven Stamkos) will not be joining team Canada. Stamkos has more points since Dec. 30 than any player on Team Canada, including Sidney Crosby. It’s a decision that Yzerman appears to be sticking with on his final list of players submitted to Vancouver Olympic officials on Monday at noon local time.
Stamkos appears to have not made the team due to his young age and lack of size. It’s the same type of decision that left Canadian superstar Sidney Crosby off the Turin Olympic team in 2006. That Olympic team ended up in 7th place and was a national disaster while Crosby went on to score 102 points in the NHL that year setting all kinds of records in the process. It’s an odd decision coming from team director Steve Yzerman, who was a skilled player with little size himself.
Apparently the collective Canadian hockey brain trust has forgotten everything surrounding Turin, including the mistakes that were made. It’s too bad, because Stamkos has earned his spot on the team.