Some might think that Rangers star player Brad Richards should have been one of the players on Team Canada this year in Sochi.
As one of the Rangers’ top scorers, Richards is second on the team in points with 42 (27 assists and 15 goals). While Richards is near the end of his prime, at 33 years of age, he is still a valuable player that along with his skill brings a quality of leadership to the teams that he plays on.
While Richards might not have the stats this season that Martin St. Louis, the player named to Team Canada to replace the injured Steven Stamkos, has, Richards is a quality player that does have better stats than some members of Team Canada.
While Richards might not have the youth and stamina that other members of Team Canada have, he would be a huge contributor to the team, bringing not only leadership, but a undeniably amazing knack for assisting teammates.
Part of the reason that Richards was not even considered for Team Canada, despite his impressive skill set and relatively successful season, is the fact that he was not a part of the 2010 Canadian Team in Vancouver. Considering that Richards has not played in an Olympic game since Torino in 2006, it stands to reason that Team Canada would pass on the aging star this year as well. However, with that being said, the Canadians might miss the skills that Richards could bring to the team.
Only time will tell if picking 38-year-old St. Louis as Stamkos’ replacement will be the best decision. With a long list of players that are younger than and just as skilled as St. Louis, including Richards, Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman had to make the difficult decision as to who would be part of the team and who would have to be left off. Yzerman made the executive decision to leave off some notable players including Richards and many others, like Joe Thornton and Claude Giroux.
With Team Canada still star studded, even without Richards, time will only tell if they can repeat their gold medal campaign that they had on their home land in Vancouver in 2010.