In the words of Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman, here’s why Penguins winger Chris Kunitz made the Olympic roster over the likes of Claude Giroux, Logan Couture and the captain of Yzerman’s own Tampa Bay Lightning, Martin St. Louis:
“Chris Kunitz has been an outstanding player throughout his career, is a Stanley Cup champion, played for me in the 2008 World Championships in Quebec and Halifax and was a very good player on that team. He’s virtually been in the playoffs every year, so we haven’t had the opportunity to bring him to other world championships.
“He’s played extremely well. He’s a hard-nosed player. He’s a skilled player. Yes, he plays with Sidney Crosby, and he’s been a great contributor not only to that line, but to his team — whether it be five-on-five or on the power play.
“The question that a lot of people have asked is, is Chris Kunitz being helped by Sidney Crosby? They help each other and he’s a tremendous player, and ultimately we asked ourselves the question, on his own does he belong on this team, and our answer was, yes, he belongs on this team.”
Hey, do you get the feeling Yzerman was prepared for that question?
Kunitz, 34, has 23 goals and 24 assists this season, his 47 points ranking him sixth in NHL scoring.
Audio of today’s Team Canada press conference (including the part about Kunitz) is below: