A few weeks ago, I spoke with Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman. The subject turned to the Olympics, Team Canada. Yzerman is again executive director, having helped build the gold-medal team that won in Vancouver. The subject turned to the selection for the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia. Yzerman knew precisely what would happen when the team was announced.

“The first 20 questions will be about players who weren't selected,” Yzerman said.

Make it 26 questions, Stevie Y, in big block letters.

How do you leave No. 26, Marty St. Louis, off the Olympic team?

Hasn't this man been told “No” enough in his career?

It was one thing when Hockey Canada, Yzerman in charge, left St. Louis off the Vancouver roster. That crushed Marty — and Yzerman wasn't even one of his bosses yet. Yzerman joined the Lightning after that. He learned about Marty first hand. That he's a champion, ageless, that he's heart and soul.

He stays home.

“I understand where you're coming from,” Yzerman said. “I don't take any joy in this whatsoever, as you can imagine.”

Yzerman broke the news to the Lightning team captain and leader. Yzerman was in Toronto for the team announcement. St. Louis was with the Lightning in Winnipeg, where Tuesday night the projected low was minus-22 degrees.

I bet it was colder on that phone call.

No Marty — again?

“I'm not going to elaborate on how we reach our decisions,” Yzerman said,“but ultimately we come down to 14 forwards who we think give us the best chance to win ...”

I still don't know how these two carry on business as usual. This is beyond awkward. How does Yzerman look St. Louis in the eye? It has to affect their working relationship, right?

“Potentially, yes,” Yzerman said. “All I can do is treat all our players with respect, regardless of the situation, and be straight with them. I'm hopeful that we can overcome this.”

Good luck.