Martin St. Louis

Babcock: St. Louis voted unanimously as Stamkos’ replacement


Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider might not like it, but there was no fierce debate among Team Canada’s coaches and management after Steven Stamkos was ruled out for the Olympics.

The group held a formal vote and St. Louis was unanimously chosen over Flyers captain Claude Giroux and the remainder of the field. That revelation comes after Snider suggested that St. Louis made the team due to “politics” because Tampa Bay Lightning GM and Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman “had to pick his own guy.”

Snider added that anyone who thinks that Giroux doesn’t belong on Team Canada doesn’t know anything about hockey.

Detroit Red Wings and Team Canada coach Mike Babcock countered the argument that St. Louis’ addition was politically motivated.

“It would have been easy for Steve to say, ‘Marty is on the team because I said he’s on the team,'” Babcock told the Tampa Bay Times. “That, to me, is not how you manage. In the end we feel we had an opportunity (for input), and that’s all you can ask for.”

Given how rich and deep Canada’s talent pool is, it was inevitable that there would be amazing players left off the team, as was initially the case for St. Louis and still is for Giroux. That being said, St. Louis won the Art Ross Trophy last season and has 55 points in 57 contests in 2013-14 despite losing his superstar linemate, Stamkos.

He’s performed at an elite level without any meaningful decline or off-season since 2002-03 and was also one of the biggest omissions from Canada’s squad in 2010. At the age of 38, this will probably be his last Olympics.


Stamkos ‘excited’ for St. Louis, but being ruled out of Olympics was ‘a little shocking’

WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks


Bolland back in, Bjugstad out with injury for Panthers

Evgeny Medvedev, Nick Bjugstad
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Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.

The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.

In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.

This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.

The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.

This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.


Royal pain: Kings’ Greene to have shoulder surgery, out indefinitely

Jiri Hudler, Matt Greene
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The Los Angeles Kings lost one of their most veteran defensemen on Tuesday, as the club announced Matt Greene would be out indefinitely following shoulder surgery.

Greene, 32, had only appeared in three games this season, missing extensive time with the ailment. He had recently resumed skating with teammates and looked to be on the way back to a return, but never got to the point where he was participating in drills, or taking contact.

With Greene out of the lineup, the Kings have primarily gone with a six-man defensive unit of Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Christian Ehrhoff, Jamie McBain and Brayden McNabb. Derek Forbort and Jeff Schultz have also been in the mix, but sparingly.

If Greene misses extensive time, L.A. could be in the market for a defenseman come trade deadline day, like they were last year before acquiring Andrej Sekera from Carolina. Greene is one of the most playoff-tested players on the L.A. roster, with 79 games and two Stanley Cups on his resume (and another Stanley Cup Final, with Edmonton in 2006).

Looks like the Canucks will have an interesting lineup tonight

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The Vancouver Canucks got banged up last night in Anaheim. As a result, it looks like they’ll have an interesting lineup tonight in Los Angeles.

Coach Willie Desjardins confirmed this morning that wingers Chris Higgins and Jake Virtanen were hurt and wouldn’t dress against the Kings.

In game-day line rushes, AHL callup Andrey Pedan, a defenseman, was skating on the wing with Jared McCann and Radim Vrbata.

But hold on, that doesn’t necessarily mean Pedan will make his NHL debut tonight. This morning, the Canucks announced they’d called up d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. Theoretically, inserting Biega could allow the offensively inclined Yannick Weber to move up to forward. Biega and Weber both shoot right. Pedan shoots left.

But wait, there exists another possibility — that both Pedan and Biega could play. That will depend on Chris Tanev‘s status. He got banged up yesterday as well, though he was able to skate this morning.

Confused? It’s OK. So is everyone.

As an aside, the Canucks not only got banged up last night, they also got pushed around and embarrassed in a 4-0 loss to the Ducks.

On that note, here’s what Pedan did to Jarred Tinordi in a Utica-Hamilton game last season: