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No Canada: Thornton & Boyle snubbed
Sharks send Marleau and Vlasic to Sochi
1/7/14 - By Mike Lee -

Joe Thornton should be a man on a mission. The Sharks team captain was officially kicked to the curb by team Canada on Tuesday morning, receiving word that he had been left off the 2014 Team Canada Olympic roster. The centerman was a vital component to Team Canada's gold medal winning team in 2010, but was slighted by Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman in lieu of a slew of younger forwards.

The Sharks weren't completely left out in the cold by Yzerman. Patrick Marleau will return to the Olympics along with first time Olympian Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Marleau skated on a line with Thornton and former Shark Dany Heatley in Vancouver in 2010.

Vlasic has emerged as one of the NHL's best young defenseman, and could be a mainstay for several years on Canada's international roster.

Thornton's snub was surprising, given that he is ranked 5th in the league in scoring. His 43 assists lead the NHL and his skills as a setup man is something that was overlooked. Thornton also doesn't receive much attention for his stellar defensive skills, which could bite Canada when the games begin in February.

Dan Boyle, another Shark that represented Canada in 2010, was also left off the roster. The veteran defenseman lost his spot to a slew of young defensemen, including Alex Pietrangelo, Dan Hamhuis, P.K. Subban and Vlasic.

To nobody's surprise, center Logan Couture was also omitted from the Canadian Olympic Team. News leaked on Monday that Couture would undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair an injury sustained to his hand. Why that info was leaked would determine who forced the issue.

If the Sharks informed Team Canada that Couture was injured, it may have made it easier for Yzerman to make his decision. The decision to conduct the surgery could have also been influenced by Yzerman's decision. If the Team Canada GM decided Couture didn't make the cut, that could have influenced Couture's decision to have surgery now. The Olympic break allows for him to heal from the surgery without missing as many games as he would have if he were to have surgery while regular league games were being played.

The biggest benefits of Thornton, Boyle, and Couture being left off the Olympic roster is rest. With the Olympic tournament being injected into a compacted NHL regular season, teams are forced to play games in a tighter window. Giving the three players an additional two weeks to recharge their batteries allows the Sharks to be better poised for a run in March, April and into the playoffs in May. Thornton and Boyle aren't spring chickens.

The other obvious benefit is that the snubs serve as motivation for the three. What better incentive for the three than a slight by their own country.

Here is the complete Team Canada roster:

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

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

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


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