A week before the biggest hockey event Canada will see since 1972, Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks awkwardly back flipped and injured his ankle in a game against the Los Angeles Kings. He was seen walking out of the arena in a protective boot and the results of an x-ray confirm a sprained ankle. An MRI today will determine the extent of the sprain.
The Olympic tourney leaves no time for recovery, sadly, so Getzlaf will likely be the good Canadian boy and bow out of this one despite the serious emotional pain of not playing in the biggest hockey event in his lifetime.
With so much Canadian talent on the reserves list it’s difficult to know who Stevie Yzerman will tap on the shoulder for the Games. Expect Steven Stamkos to get serious consideration. The youngster deserves the opportunity to play for Canada with the thirrd highest point total over the past 82 games in the NHL. Even Don Cherry was pushing Stamkos in a recent video highlight reel on Hockey Night in Canada. His lack of size is the biggest factor holding Stamkos off the team and Getzlaf is a big body that the team will want to replace with another big player.
There are a bunch of other great players though so it could come down to fit more than outright talent. Vinny Lecavalier has the size and skill along with past Olympics experience to fill Getzlaf’s skates. Vinny is a natural center though and the team is loaded with centers. Shane Doan, a natural winger, and Jeff Carter, another center, are other outside contenders to join the team.
Only Canada has so much talent where multiple players playing at a point a game pace in the NHL have been left off the team. Steve Yzerman, the longest serving captain of any North American sports team ever, 20 years, surely knows what the teams needs and it may not be stats.
In Yzerman we trust!