Here's a guy who went undrafted after an illustrious collegiate career with Vermont. He was an ECAC First-Team All-Conference Team member for three consecutive years as well as being named to the NCAA East First All-American Team for those same years from 1994-95 through to 1996-97. He put up incredible numbers and despite all of the accolades never heard his name called on draft day. Then, in February of 1998 the Calgary Flames gave him a shot. After portions of two NHL seasons and a total of 69 games played (which totaled 20 points) the Flames let his contract expire and he wandered into free agency. July of 2000 brought a new start for St. Louis who was signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning. In his first season with the Bolts, a season in which he played in 78 games, St. Louis doubled his previous career output with 40 points. Just three seasons later, he saw his name called as a First Team NHL All-Star, the winner of the Art Ross Trophy, the Lester B. Pearson Award, the Hart Trophy as league MVP and most importantly, he got his name engraved on Lord Stanley's Cup. The stats and honors have never waned for St. Louis who, at 38 years old, leaves many expecting him to slow down soon, but at this point all they can do is wonder when that day may come. Last season he became the oldest player in history to win the scoring title when he netted 60 points in the shortened 48 game season. It's not as though he hasn't received plenty of credit throughout his NHL career, but he does seem to have to prove himself year after year. And although he's still on a tear this season, no one expects St. Louis to be this good at 42 which made him a sentimental favorite to represent Team Canada in this years Olympics. And that was part of the problem.
Yes, St. Louis has been to an Olympics before. He was on the team in 2006 in Turin, Italy when Team Canada fell disappointingly short and finished seventh in the tournament. In 2010 many people thought St. Louis was overlooked, but it's hard to argue that fact considering they won Gold in Vancouver. He was designated as a "reserve" that year. What has made this year more difficult to handle is the fact that this would appear to be St. Louis' last shot at a medal representing his country, much like Teemu Selanne for Finland. It was a forgone conclusion Selanne would be wearing the white and blue this year for one more run. When St. Louis didn't have his name announced during the Team Canada press conference word spread that he was admittedly disappointed. Coming off of a scoring title and a season in which he's led the Lightning in scoring with an injured Steven Stamkos on the sidelines, it's hard to imagine what else St. Louis would have to do to get on the team. After all these years, all the accolades and points - one more shot at Gold would have been well deserved, and he was overlooked yet another time. I heard one special guest on a Canadian sports talk show express some surprise that St. Louis wasn't happier about being named to the team. He thought the forward showed too much disappointment in his meeting with the media after being named as Steven Stamkos' replacement. Can you blame him? St. Louis believes in himself and he thought he should have been on the team from Day One. A lot of people do. The big thing here is that he belonged on that team not because he's 38, not because people love him and this is likely his last chance; he belonged on that team from the beginning because he is one of the top players in all of Canada. It has nothing to do with sentiment. It has everything to do with his ability.
Originally I was going to title this article, "Martin St. Louis Deserves Better", or something along those lines. When I thought about it though, he doesn't want that. He doesn't want pity or for people to think he's sad and down. He's none of those things. He's a confident hockey player who's pissed off he was overlooked for a role he much deserved in the first place. Hence the current title, "Martin St. Louis". Nothing else needs to be said about him. His play with the Lightning and now Team Canada will give you all the headlines you'll need.