Before I get into this, I just want to say that I’m about to go into full-on sports mode and have no regard for the interests of the people who may read this post. So, if you are not a sports fan, or don’t follow hockey, I apologize…not really. Allow me to engage you in a thought that I have. You can call it a prediction, but I won’t. I’ll call it a likely sequence of future events based on nothing at all. Buckle up.
Yesterday, Martin St. Louis was named to the Canadian Men’s Hockey team for the Sochi Olympics. He is replacing his Tampa Bay teammate, Steven Stamkos, who is still recovering from an injury that has kept him out of action since November – the same time my fantasy hockey team went into downward spiral (not like anyone cares).
Here’s some quick background information. The General Manager of Team Canada is Steve Yzerman. Yzerman is also the General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. So yes, Stamkos and St. Louis are under the watchful eye of Yzerman every day. St. Louis is the Captain of the team. They are basically one big happy family that draws on the words “let’s go, boys” for motivation of a daily basis.
Now this gets messy. Let’s recap.
In 2010, Yzerman was the GM of Team Canada and left St. Louis off the team. So this year, everyone thought that St. Louis would make the team because, surely, Yzerman could not bring himself to leave his own Captain off the team a second time. Well, Lightning struck twice, pun intended. St. Louis was left off the team. They then deleted each other from Facebook.
And here is where I wish the behind-the-scenes cameras start rolling.
Naturally, St. Louis was mad that he was left off the team, again. So what does he do? He takes out his aggression by putting the puck in the net and dishing out assists to teammates at an impressive pace. The first game after his Olympic snub, he scored two goals. A couple of games later, he scored four. Four goals. In one game. This man was like cookie monster if you took his cookies away from him. No, not losing weight. Angry. Irate, even. But like a professional, he let his play do the talking.
At the end of the day, Yzerman benefitted. He made the best player on his team (outside of Stamkos) angry, and he started producing, which helped his team win games and stay near the top of the Eastern Conference.
If you like conspiracy theories, then you should be all over this one: “Yzerman left St. Louis off the team knowing he’d be mad and take out his anger by scoring goals and helping Tampa Bay win games while Stamkos was injured.” A little far-fetched, but that’s what ended up happening.
On Wednesday, word came out that Stamkos would miss the Olympics. So what does Yzerman do? For the first time in three opportunities, he tells his Captain, reigning Art Ross trophy winner, diminutive (5’8, 180 lbs.), and savvy veteran that, yes, he is now on Team Canada and will get to wear their awful-looking uniforms that make them look like they are sponsored by Petro Canada. They hugged it out and promised to send Christmas cards to each other this year, but not the fancy kind. The wounds are still too fresh for that.
Heck, St. Louis could have declined. He could have said, “Hey, thanks but no thanks. You guys go without me. I’ve heard about the bathroom stalls in Sochi that have two toilets in them. I don’t want anything to do with that. Leave the dump and chase for the big ice.”
Ah, bathroom humour. If only the Staal brothers made the team…But seriously, go look up the picture of two toilets in one stall currently in Sochi. Apparently they have to put toilet paper in the garbage rather than, you know, the toilet. I can’t stop laughing at the picture. Yes, I’m seven-years-old. Moving on…
St. Louis is going to say all the right things. How he’s happy to have the opportunity. How it’s unfortunate that Stamkos can’t make it. How he understands that Canada has a big pool of players to choose from.
But deep down you know he’s seething. Deep down he knows he has something to prove. He’s had something to prove his entire career. Everyone told him he was too small and could never play in the NHL. Well, he carved out a pretty successful career for himself, and at age 38, I don’t think he’s finished.
I think everything that has happened up to this point is a great opening of a sports documentary. Think about it, every sports documentary ever made is a series of unbelievable events. But when those unbelievable events are happening, you don’t think anything of it, until there is a distinctive ending and you look back and say, “wow.”
The rest of this documentary is unwritten. It hasn’t happened yet.
Allow me to fast forward to the end of this documentary. This is what I think will happen.
Martin St. Louis will not be relied upon early on. He will sleepwalk through the tournament like Sidney Crosby did in 2010 and allow guys like John Tavares to enjoy the spotlight. But, either way, when a hero is needed, St. Louis will be there to score that big goal, perhaps even the golden goal.
And when he scores that important goal, he will simultaneously send a proverbial middle finger, as well as a thumbs up to Hockey Canada. People will ask what would have happened if St. Louis was not there. St. Louis will remain humble through it all, but deep down, he will feel justified. His career will be justified. His legacy, as one of the best Canadian hockey players ever, will be justified.
For the past month, whether he admits it or not, he has been angry. He has wanted to prove them wrong. He wants to stick it to them and show them how much they need him.
And I think he will. I think the stage is set. I think the story has foreshadowed him being the hero at the end. To quote a song, “there’s a fire inside of this heart and a riot about to explode into flames.” Hockey Canada has unintentionally created a monster. No, not a cookie monster.
I can picture this happening. I really can. I feel like we’re unknowingly in the middle of a story that is destined for a heroic ending.
Of course, I could be wrong. I probably am wrong. I just have a weird feeling about this one and thought I’d write it down and make it official, while also making myself sound crazy. Mission accomplished!
And that’s the unmade Team Canada documentary. In stores nowhere, yet.
Man, I’ve watched too many ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries…