Hockey Canada named their Olympic Orientation Camp roster today. On it, as was probably expected by most, were Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. Steven Stamkos was not invited to camp, but that does not mean he cannot make the team.
Francois Beauchemin, Jay Bouwmeester, Dan Boyle, Brent Burns, Drew Doughty, Mike Green, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Scott Niedermayer, Dion Phaneuf, Chris Pronger, Robyn Regehr, Stephane Robidas, Brent Seabrook, Marc Staal, Shea Weber
Jeff Carter, Dan Cleary, Sidney Crosby, Shane Doan, Simon Gagne, Ryan Getzlaf, Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, Milan Lucic, Patrick Marleau, Andy McDonald, Brenden Morrow, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Mike Richards, Derek Roy, Joe Sakic, Patrick Sharp, Ryan Smyth, Martin St. Louis, Eric Staal, Jordan Staal, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews
The exclusion of Stamkos caused some waves after the announcement of the roster (more after the jump):
'Stamkos is 19. Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty will be 20 when the Team Canada orientation camp opens in August. Doughty, drafted right behind Stamkos, was invited; Stamkos was not.' -Puck Daddy
' "[Stamkos] was a guy we debated down to the last minute," said Yzerman [Canada's 2010 Olympic Team GM], noting that the depth at the center position made it tough to narrow the forward group. "He'll still be a player I watch this fall." ' -CTV
'This comes as a bit of a minor surprise, but Steven Stamkos was left off the list of invitees to Team Canada Olympic orientation camp, which will be held in Calgary August 24-27. Certainly, based on age, Stamkos is probably considered a longshot to even make the team but after he enjoyed such a productive World Championships in April there was some thoughts that he would find his way onto the invited list. Seriously, what would it have meant to invite Stamkos? What would it mean to have him get a feel fo rit since, if the NHL goes to the 2014 Olympics, there's a good chance Stamkos would be a part of that team.' -Bolts Report
' "He deserves a chance," Lecavalier said. "The fact that maybe he's a young guy, maybe they overlooked him. But the way he finished the season, and the way he played in the world championship, he definitely should go there and get his chance." ' -Lightning Strikes
To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what the big deal is with Stamkos not being named to the team. Sure he had a strong second half of the season. And sure he played very well at World Championships this spring. But that's not the whole story.
Just over half of the players in the NHL are from Canada. That's approximately 350-400 players or so. With all of the available talent that country has, they could easily field two Olympic ice hockey teams - and possibly even a third. And probably win two medals with two teams, too. And potentially three medals with three teams, though that might be stretching it. That's how stacked they are.
In that kind of scenario, Stamkos is a good second-team kind of guy if they were able to do something like that. But at 19 years old, there are plenty of veteran NHL centers who are ahead of him in line. Is he comparable to Ryan Getzlaf, Jeff Carter, or even his teammate, Vinny Lecavalier? No, he's not. Not yet, anyways. Even Stamkos himself understand that.
' "It's obviously a little tough, but you have to realize the situation with me being 19 years old," Stamkos said. "I wasn't expecting to make that team by any means. Look at past history. Sidney Crospby didn't play (in Torino in 2006). I'm not comparing myself to him, but the mentality that the Olympic roster is usually guys who are experienced, especially in Canada. It's so hard to make that team with the talent Canadian players have." ' -Lightning Strikes
Before all of Tampa Bay gets up in arms over this non-story, just remember this. So far, three guys off of the team could be going to the Olympics. And potentially, at least three or four more may be named to their national teams as well - Martins Karsums (Latvia), Andrej Meszaros (Slovakia), Mattias Ohlund (Sweden), and maybe even Victor Hedman (Sweden). (Hedman gets thrown in there because Sweden's not as deep in talent as Canada, and he has been playing with the big boys in the Swedish Elite League for the last two seasons.) That's possibly seven Lightning playing in the Olympics right there, and Jeff Halpern could still make the US team.
So now, really - why is there all of this fuss about Stamkos not being named to the Olympic Orientation Camp roster again?