Hockey Canada executive director Steve Yzerman stands with head coach Mike Babcock during the announcement of the Canadian men's Olympic hockey team Tuesday in Toronto. (Abelimages / Getty Images)
Sid the Kid is going to have plenty of help when Canada goes for gold at the Sochi Olympics.
Hockey Canada announced its 25-man hockey roster on Tuesday and it is loaded with NHL stars for next month’s Winter Games. The team will be led by Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.
Sidney Crosby, who scored the gold-medal winning goal in 2010 against the U.S., will be joined up front by Jamie Benn, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz (Ferris State), Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares and Jonathan Toews.
Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, P.K. Subban, Marc-Édouard Vlasic and Shea Weber will be on defense. The goaltenders are: Roberto Luongo, Carey Price and Mike Smith.
Stamkos has not played in nearly two months because of a broken right leg.
Hockey Canada executive director and former Red Wings great Steve Yzerman, who is Stamkos’ general manger with the Tampa Bay Lightning, said Stamkos is scheduled for X-rays later this week.
“If he’s healthy, he’s one of the 25 best players, obviously,” Yzerman said at a news conference in Toronto. “If we didn’t name him today and no one is injured, we wouldn’t be able to announce him later.”
Injured players can be replaced before the final rosters are set on Feb. 11, the day before the first games are played.
While Canada will likely be favored to win gold again, the host Russians will be among the tough teams to beat in the 12-country field.
“What other team do we worry about? Every one,” Yzerman said. “I’m nervous about them all.”
Yzerman said recently there were 20 players talented enough to be a forward on the team, but just 14 would be chosen to play for Canada. Martin St. Louis, who plays for Yzerman in Tampa Bay, didn’t make the cut for the Winter Olympics for the second straight time.
“For me personally, yeah, that’s a difficult decision,” Yzerman acknowledged.
Claude Giroux, though, was probably the most surprising omission. He is among the NHL scoring leaders this season with 12 goals and 38 points for the Flyers entering Tuesday night’s game.
Other players who could have made the cut include: James Neal, Eric Staal, Milan Lucic, Brent Seabrook, Mark Giordano and Logan Couture, who is scheduled for surgery this week to treat an upper-body injury.
Who will replace injured players, such as Stamkos, in Russia?
“There’s several players who are in consideration,” Yzerman said. “You can speculate for yourself.”