Stamkos replacement to be named in next 48 hours

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SOCHI, Russia — Who will replace Steven Stamkos on Team Canada’s Olympic roster? Hockey Canada executive Brad Pascall couldn’t answer that question Thursday afternoon in Sochi, but he did say the aim was to name a player in the next 48 hours.

The announcement could come sooner. NHL players are scheduled to leave North America on charters for Russia on Sunday, so whether it’s Martin St. Louis, Claude Giroux, James Neal, or another player, time is limited for Canada’s management group, led by Steve Yzerman, and coaching staff, headed up by Mike Babcock, to make the call.

“We have a wealth of talent, and we’re disappointed that Steven’s not able to play, but we’re confident that whoever would replace him would be a great addition to our team,” said Pascall.

Reporters desperate for some sort of hint asked how much a player’s recent performance could factor into the decision. Pascall replied that a player’s overall “body of work” will be considered, but “we want hot players coming in as well.”

Of course, St. Louis, Giroux, and Neal have all been productive the past month, so it’s hard to predict anything by that.

Canada opens the men’s tournament next Thursday versus Norway. The team’s first practice is scheduled for Monday.

Stamkos was ruled out of the Olympics on Wednesday after doctors determined his broken tibia had not completely healed.