About 4 months ago, when 46 players and Canadian Olympic hopefuls gathered in Calgary for a ball-hockey orientation camp, there was a 47th player invited. Claude Giroux chose not to attend, citing rehab from finger surgery as the reason.
I wrote at the time, that choosing to skip the camp might come back to haunt him, I didn’t like the decision and it might affect his chances. At the time he was considered by many to be a lock for the team, and 4 months later he was left off when the roster was named. All despite a slow start but getting very hot as the deadline approached.
Hockey Canada has a history of loyalty to players that show their dedication to the group, and although a legitimate injury, Giroux’s finger didn’t seem like the type that should keep him away. Even if he couldn’t hold a stick, he could be around the guys, attending the meetings about systems and coverage, especially since he would probably be one of the guys playing out of position if he were on the team.
An argument against my hypothesis would be that Jamie Benn and Patrick Marleau are on the team despite not being at the camp, but I would counter that argument with the fact that they were not invited, and played their way onto the team. They couldn’t help the fact that they were not asked to attend, and if they were I am sure they would have been there.
Hockey Canada has had in the past a policy that if you didn’t attend a camp when invited, you couldn’t make the team. This mostly applied to the Junior camps, and although it hasn’t been publicly stated, I can’t help but wonder if the snub by Giroux was returned in force on Jan 7th.
Again, with most people having Giroux on their list, right up to the end, I’ve got to believe that his decision played at least a small role in being left off. Whether Giroux took it for granted that he would be on the team, or whether Hockey Canada, Steve Yzerman and co. took it as a lack of desire or dedication to the cause, it was taken into consideration when the chips were down.
It will not likely be aired publicly, but if it were to come out after the fact somehow I would not be surprised, and it would send a message to players in the future that loyalty is rewarded.