Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos says he understands Olympics snub
No hard feelings. That was the message from Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos upon learning he was not one of 46 Canadian players invited to the Olympic orientation camp.
"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."
Even so, teammate Vinny Lecavalier, who was invited, along with Marty St. Louis, said Stamkos, after scoring seven goals for silver-medal Canada in the world championship, deserved a spot.
"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."
Stamkos, whose 23 goals last season set a Lightning rookie record, has been working out in the Toronto area with former teammate Gary Roberts. While he admitted the Olympics experience probably would have done "a lot of good for the future," he reiterated, "It's not a shock to me I wasn't on there. It would have been nice, but I didn't expect to be there. If I was, great, but it's not the end of the world."
There still is a chance Stamkos will be invited. There is speculation Joe Sakic might retire, leaving a spot open for a center. And Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman said during a conference call, "If he (Stamkos) comes out of the gate strong, he'll be a player I'll watch."
"He's definitely on the radar," Lightning GM Brian Lawton said. "It's just so tough with so many talented players."