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On Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, Marty St. Louis and Ron Campbell

10

February

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the brass of the Canadian Olympic team has told Philadelphia's Jeff Carter that he will be the replacement if Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf (ankle sprain) cannot play in the Vancouver Games. That means Lightning center Steven Stamkos and left wing Marty St. Louis, two of the hottest players in the league, are still outside looking in.

Carter's possible inclusion should not be a surprise. He apparently was the final cut when the team was originally put together. Still, it seems as if the Lightning guys got short-changed a bit here. Stamkos you can understand. Despite his 33 goals, and 14 on the power play which is tied for the league lead, he is young and Canada is deep, deep, deep at center.

But St. Louis? It is a decision I still do not understand.

Marty is a catalyst with whomever he plays. His engine revs higher. His commitment burns brighter. The Canadian brass wanted to go bigger? It's not as if the 5-foot-7 St. Louis doesn't play against bigger, stronger opponents all the time. They wanted to go younger? St. Louis is probably in better shape than most players. Has he lost a step? Perhaps, and at 34 that is inevitable. But he outhustled everyone to a loose puck Tuesday night and carried it from the neutral zone to the Canucks net, where he scored the game's winning goal.

There is a school of thought that St. Louis is so closely tied to Stamkos or Vinny Lecavalier that if he was not paired with one of them, his effectiveness would diminish. Ask Lightning coach Rick Tocchet about that. If a Tampa Bay player is struggling, St. Louis gets the assignment of trying to provide a spark as a linemate.

And there is no denying these stats. He has 20 goals for the seventh straight season. He is tied for seventh in the league with 66 points. His 46 assists are fifth in the league and he is tied for third with 27 power-play points.

It was a mistake not to include St. Louis on the team.

Let's finish up with some information on Ron Campbell. The former Lightning president, instrumental in making the St. Pete Times Forum one of the busiest entertainment arenas in the country, and who is credited with stopping a potential trade of Lecavalier to the Maple Leafs back in December 2001, has been contacted by representatives of new owner Jeff Vinik and perhaps taking his old job.

Campbell, who was moved out of the job in August 2008, two months after OK Hockey bought the team, but was retained as a senior advisor, still  is under contract through this year. He said he would enjoy having the chance to help Vinik rejuvenate the franchise.

Funny, huh? Campbell, who was part of the old Palace Sports & Entertainment organization, is being courted to come back now that Palace Sports & Entertainment will finally be able to cut ties with the team if the Vinik sale goes through.

[Last modified: Friday, March 12, 2010 12:15am]

    

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