The Tomato

St. Louis’s small stature could be the Z- factor of the tournament

Photo by Thomas Veasey (CC)

The Canadian Olympic men’s hockey team is unconcerned with the recent news that Steven Stamkos will miss the entirety of the tournament in Sochi after new details of the team’s hotel arrangements have emerged that make Martin St. Louis, Stamkos’s replacement, a much better fit for the team.

The Canadian team, which was originally set to have three teammates share a room of three single beds, has had its accommodations made even tighter after news came out last week that because of construction in the players’ village, the team will have to sleep two to a bed.

St. Louis is listed at 5 feet 8 inches tall, and is one of the smallest players in the tournament, making him a very desirable bedmate. Head coach Mike Babcock has lined St. Louis up head to toe with star centre and captain Sidney Crosby — a decision Babcock feels will ensure his best player will be prepared.

“St. Louis is a game changer,” said Babcock. “This guy can guarantee good nights of sleep for our best player, and he’s not bad on the ice either.”

There has been much controversy surrounding Sochi’s hotel rooms, as reporters have complained of tainted water and doorknobs falling off in their rooms, as well as missing furniture. Such factors are magnified when the difference between a bad and good sleep could be the difference between bronze and gold.

Although many consider Canada a favourite in the Olympic tournament, as they have the skill and experience to match any other country in the world, many experts haven’t given due credit to the effects of a good sleep.

“I think it’s why I was chosen,” said St. Louis. “Other guys that could have been chosen like Claude Giroux and Joe Thornton would’ve taken up way more than their fair share of a bed. I’m a team player, and my size enables me to keep up that role off the ice.”

While the addition of St. Louis has given the Canadian team confidence, the same cannot be said for team Slovakia, which is still trying to figure out a way to accommodate 6’9 defenseman Zdeno Chara. If lucky enough to get a bed to himself, Chara will have to get used to his feet hanging off the end, with his blanket covering only half his body.

When asked for comment, Chara replied, “I will break you.”

Meanwhile, the Swedish team is having troubles of its own. With Henrik Sedin’s recent withdrawal from the tournament, Daniel Sedin might be finding himself sleeping on the bottom bunk for the tournament, something he is not accustomed to in Vancouver. With Daniel Alfredsson coming back to play in his fifth Olympics, seniority might be the deciding factor in the fight for the top bunk. The overall team chemistry could be in danger, significantly lowering the team’s chances of reaching the podium.

Nothing has been reported from the Russian team in terms of difficulty with the sleeping arrangements. But pictures of star player Alex Ovechkin’s foot massages have been surfacing on the Internet, along with reports that large orders of fine alcohol and lobster have been arriving at the Russian team’s hotel daily.

While the tournament has yet to be completed, one thing is for sure: the Olympic Games in Russia have brought a new focus to the athletes’ bedrooms.