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Getzlaf is thankful for Yzerman’s trust

Saturday, 02.27.2010 / 10:46 PM ET / News
By John Dellapina
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Getzlaf is thankful for Yzerman\u2019s trust
VANCOUVER – Jeff Carter already was in Vancouver and Team Canada's contingency plan was in place. Pardon Team USA if it wishes that plan had been carried out.

Having suffered a fairly severe left ankle sprain when he got entangled with Team USA forward Dustin Brown in a game against the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 8, center Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks appeared to be a long shot to play for Team Canada in these Olympics. He had, after all, left the Honda Center that night with the aid of crutches, a protective boot on his left foot.

GM Steve Yzerman, aware that Team Canada was hamstrung four years ago by sticking with several banged-up players in Torino, had vowed not to have any injured players on his 2010 roster.

So Yzerman asked Carter, merely a 46-goal scorer for the Flyers last season, to fly to Vancouver following the Flyers' last pre-break game in Montreal on Feb. 13 and be ready to go. Then Yzerman dispatched St. Louis Blues VP of Player Personnel Doug Armstrong, Team Canada's Associate Director of Player Personnel, to Edmonton to watch Getzlaf should he make it into the Ducks' lineup for their pre-break finale on Feb. 14.

What Armstrong saw in person that night, with Yzerman and the rest of Team Canada's management team watching intently from Vancouver, erased any doubt. In a monster performance after missing two games, Getzlaf set up two goals and then scored twice himself in the third period.
I mean, obviously, I’ve thanked Steve many times for being patient and being able to wait. I know that he had way more pressure on him than I did on me. So it’s a situation where Steve had faith in me and showed faith in me. And luckily enough, the ankle responded the way we wanted to and I was able to be here and not worry about it. - Ryan Getzlaf

Carter was crestfallen. Yzerman and Co. were thrilled and wrote Getzlaf's name on the official roster sheet before Monday's noon deadline. Getzlaf was relieved – and remains thankful that Team Canada's brain trust stuck with him.

"There was a few times during that week when I wondered if I'd be here," Getzlaf said Saturday afternoon following Team Canada's practice in preparation for Sunday's gold-medal game against Team USA. "And the main point is: It wasn't about convincing them that I need to be here. Steve made it pretty clear that he wanted me here, as did (Canadian coach) Mike (Babcock) and all their guys.
"It was about what was best for the team and for my team at home. Obviously, I would do anything to be on this team and I did anything to be on this team. So that's what that week was about."

Following Getzlaf's performance against Edmonton, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle marveled: "To think he would play in this game after reviewing the's just amazing. It was all up to him."

Getzlaf's teammate (and sometimes linemate) Bobby Ryan had admittedly mixed emotions. Ryan, of course, plays for Team USA.

"Once he posted those four points up against Edmonton, I figured he was going," Ryan said after the Americans practiced at Canada Hockey Place. "I told him as a friend that I was happy for him that he was representing his country, but as an American, I wasn't so thrilled."

It's not difficult to figure out why.

Getzlaf is a mountain of a man who plays the game with the kind of skill and speed that isn't fair in a 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame. He has utterly punished opposing defensemen on the forecheck in this tournament. He has barreled to the net and posted himself in front of opposing goaltenders in unstoppable fashion.

His six points (three goals, three assists) rank second on Team Canada -- and his backhander into the roof of the net from his knees Friday night turned out to be the game-winner in Canada's 3-2 escape over Slovakia in the semifinals. conducted an informal poll of prominent hockey writers covering the tournament. The question: If you were rooting for the Americans and could take one Canadian player out of the lineup, which would you choose? The almost unanimous choice: Ryan Getzlaf.

"He's played well and he's come on strong as of late," Ryan said. "And when Getzlaf hits his stride, he's one of the worst to play against and hardest to contain. So we've got our hands full with him tomorrow."

And to think: Team USA and the rest of the Olympic field was so close to avoiding Getzlaf's commanding presence altogether.

"It was a tough week," Getzlaf said. "There definitely were times when I didn't know if I was going to be here or not. But obviously, everything worked out and everything's been rolling properly since.

"I mean, obviously, I've thanked Steve many times for being patient and being able to wait. I know that he had way more pressure on him than I did on me. So it's a situation where Steve had faith in me and showed faith in me. And luckily enough, the ankle responded the way we wanted to and I was able to be here and not worry about it."




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80