Sochi, Russian Federation (4E Sports) – Martin St. Louis, inserted into Canada’s lineup at the Sochi Winter Olympics as replacement for injured Steven Stamkos, drew praises for his strong play in the team’s 3-1 win over Norway in Group B preliminary round game Thursday.
At first, many wondered how coach Mike Babcock would play him or if he would even play. However, St. Louis played a lot against Norway.
St. Louis didn’t get any points but he was a key member of what Babcock called his best line in a rotation with Jamie Benn alongside John Tavares and Patrice Bergeron.
The Tampa Bay Lightning star played 10:47 in the game, a bit more than Benn’s 8:52 and a bit less than Bergeron’s 10:59.
“I played more than I thought I would and you just try to do the best you can with the ice time you get,” St. Louis said. “It’s a very fast game so it takes depth. And we have it.”
St. Louis also had a shift on a line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. Aside from that, he also had some time on the Jonathan Toews line taking the spot of Rick Nash and Patrick Sharp.
In all three cases St. Louis was replacing a player who had just played special teams, but Babcock also said the coaching staff was curious to see how he fit in.
“We planned it that way so we could see different people with other people, with pairs,” Babcock said. “We’re a work in progress. We don’t know what our lines are going to be.”
St. Louis admitted he has no idea what the intentions were of the coaching staff in having him bounce around, but he wasn’t particularly concerned about it either.
“I have no idea. I try to work hard when I’m on the ice,” he said.