Crosby headlines Canada's Olympic hockey roster

Executive director of Hockey Canada Steve Yzerman announces the roster of the Canadian men's...

Executive director of Hockey Canada Steve Yzerman announces the roster of the Canadian men's Olympic hockey team at the Mastercard Centre in Toronto ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics. (ERNEST DOROSZUK, QMI AGENCY)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:41 PM ET

TORONTO - Team Canada has taken a leap of faith in several directions, hoping to land with another gold medal in men’s hockey come February in Sochi.

Executive director Steve Yzerman and his management team unveiled the long awaited 25 names for the Olympic roster on Tuesday, hoping that experience, familiarity and in the case of Steve Stamkos, medical science, will produce the desired result.

Stamkos, coming off a broken leg, was the most difficult choice for Yzerman, who is also his general manager with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“If he’s healthy, he’s one of the 25 who should be on the team,” Yzerman told a press conference at the Maple Leafs practice facility. “His re-hab and his recovery are going well.”

If Stamkos isn’t healthy enough, Canada can replace him before the tournament starts. Stamkos is due for an eight-week x-ray update this week and Yzerman expects that will point to further progress after he started light skating with the Bolts in recent days.

While hoping that the two-time Rocket Richard Trophy-winner can make it back by the time Canada opens against Norway on Feb. 13, Yzerman had to go with the flow and not choose Lightning player Martin St. Louis. It was the second straight time Yzerman had to overlook the now 38-year-old St. Louis, who had played in the 2006 Games.

While 2010 scoring hero Sidney Crosby’s inclusion was a no brainer, his significantly lower profile left winger Chris Kunitz is in. Yzerman and his staff, which included NHL general managers Peter Chiarelli, Doug Armstrong, Kevin Lowe, head coach Mike Babcock and his group of NHL coaches, saw Kunitz as more than a player riding Crosby’s coat-tails.

“We talked to the staff about where we see him fitting in,” Yzerman said. “There are multiple players for each role on this team. He’s outstanding, he’s won a Cup, he played for me in 2008 in the world championship, he’s been in the playoffs every year, he’s a hard-nosed player. Yes he played with Crosby, but he’s a great contributor to his team.

"Does he belong on his own? Yes.”

Power winger Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars is another newcomer, though Penguins’ sniper James Neal did not make it. The list of veteran forwards not invited back included Joe Thornton, while fellow San Jose Shark Logan Couture was in the running before an announcement Tuesday morning that he’ll undergo hand surgery.

Jeff Carter, who has had some ups and downs in his career, made the cut after being a resereve addition in 2010. In addition to Crosby-Kunitz, teammates kept together included Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf from Anaheim and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp from Chicago.

Vancouver veterans Patrice Bergeron and Patrick Marleau join first-timers John Tavares and Matt Duchene.

The Hawks' famous blueline pairing of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook saw the latter get snubbed, while P.K. Subban of the Canadiens comes aboard with Dan Hamhuis, Alex Pietrangelo and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Keith, Drew Doughty and Sea Weber and 2006 returnee Jay Bouwmeester rounded out the blueline.

In goal, two of the three are from Canadian NHL teams, Carey Price of Montreal and Roberto Luongo from the Canucks. Luongo was the starter in 2010.

Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes is also in the mix.

“Everything played a factor, experience, left shot, right shot,” Yzerman said. “I think (11) of them played for us in Vancouver. We have numerous Cup winners on the team. We took everything into consideration. But we had hard decisions to make.”

CANADA'S OLYMPIC ROSTER

Goaltenders: Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks), Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens), Mike Smith (Phoenix Coyotes)

Defence: Jay Bouwmeester (St. Louis Blues), Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks), PK Subban (Montreal Canadiens), Shea Weber (Nashville Predators), Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings), Dan Hamhuis (Canucks), Alex Pietrangelo (Blues), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (San Jose Sharks)

Forwards: Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), Jamie Benn (Dallas Stars), Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), Jeff Carter (Kings), Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks), Chris Kunitz (Penguins), Rick Nash (New York Rangers), Corey Perry (Ducks), Patrick Sharp (Blackhawks), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning), John Tavares (New York Islanders), Jonathan Toews (Blackhawks), Patrick Marleau (Sharks)


CHECK OUT THE CHAT THAT RAN DURING THE ANNOUNCEMENT



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