Steven Stamkos will not play for Team Canada at 2014 Olympics

Steven Stamkos was eyeing an NHL return this Saturday so that he could get one NHL game under his belt before the Olympic tournament. However, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced Wednesday that he won’t be available to Team Canada.

Steven Stamkos’ goal was to get back into NHL action by at least this Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings so that he would have one NHL game under his belt by the start of the Olympic tournament.

But now, he’s not going to the Olympics at all.

Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced in a release that team doctors determined Stamkos’ broken tibia was not completely healed and that he would not be available for Team Canada. The doctors stated that a “callus surrounding the fracture site is not 100 percent consolidated, and Steven will not be cleared to play in a game until that happens.”

Stamkos, who did not get the call for Team Canada in 2010, will now have to hope the NHL sends its players to South Korea in 2018 if he is to ever be an Olympic athlete.

The Lightning star was understandably, crushed by the news:

“Today is obviously very disappointing for me,” Stamkos said in a release. “I honestly believe that we did everything possible in order to have my injured leg ready in time for the Olympics, but I realize you can’t force healing. I know, in the best interest of my long term health, I cannot represent Canada in Sochi, as much as I would like to. I would like to thank the training staff for their dedication and hard work and I look forward to returning to the Lightning once cleared by the medical team.”

The question now turns to who should his replacement be? Claude Giroux and Martin St-Louis will have to be considered, as will James Neal. What about Eric Staal?

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Here we go again with Team Canada snub lists.

But no matter who it is that replaces Stamkos on Team Canada, the absence of the sniper cannot be used as an excuse should Canada leave Sochi in disappointment. As standby lists for this country prove, there is enough talent to go around.

It’s a shame Stamkos can’t go to the Olympic Games, but it’s no reason to toss up the white flag.

In case you’ve forgotten, here is the play Stamkos broke his leg on back in November.

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