Expect a younger Team Canada: Yzerman
It's hard to ignore the massive influx of young Canadian talent that has made its way into the NHL over the past few years.
Names like Sidney Crosby, Mike Richards, Ryan Getzlaf, Marc Andre-Fleury, Jonathan Toews, and many others are dominating headlines across the league.
So Canadians should expect a bit of a youth movement when the red and white hit the ice in Vancouver in a few months.
"Some of the younger players are going to simply be too good to keep off the team, and in that way we're going to be a younger team than [in] the previous two Olympics," Steve Yzerman, Hockey Canada's executive director, told Hockey Night in Canada Radio's Jeff Marek with Cassie Campbell-Pascall on Tuesday.
Many of these youngsters were invited to Team Canada's Olympic orientation camp in August, marking a "changing of the guard" of sorts for the Canadian squad. Just five of the 16 defencemen invited to the Calgary camp had Olympic experience, along with 11 of the 25 forwards.
Yzerman stressed that the Canadian team still needs the experience veterans can bring to the ice, so they won't be left out of the equation when it comes time to pick the team in a month and a half.
"I think there's great value in having guys who have been there before," he said. "I don't have a specific ratio [of young players and veterans] ... They're not going to make it because they're veterans, they have to earn their spot."
And he stressed again that players who weren't invited to the orientation camp can still play their way onto the roster.
"We're only a month into the season," he said. "We've watched a lot of hockey and continue to watch. Things can dramatically change in the next six weeks. We're going to keep watching and make sure when it's time to make a decision we know what every player can do."
One of the players who has caught Yzerman's eye early on this season is Tampa Bay's forward Steven Stamkos. The 19-year-old from Markham, Ont., has 11 goals and five assists in 12 games this season.
"Definitely," Yzerman said when asked if he was impressed with Stamkos's play. Yzerman was spotted in the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Tuesday taking in a game between the Maple Leafs and Stamkos's Lightning.