Kukla's Korner Hockey
Ron MacLean talks to Martin St. Louis about his move to New York, his Team Canada snub and current standing relationship with Steve Yzerman.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have named Steven Stamkos the 10th captain in franchise history today, the team unveiled prior to their game versus the Buffalo Sabres.
“Steven Stamkos was destined to be the leader of our team,” head coach Jon Cooper said. “The fact that it’s happening now just puts us one step closer to achieving our ultimate goal and that is trying to win the Stanley Cup.”
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Suddenly on deadline day in the National Hockey League, the cherished ‘C’ became all about ‘me’.
The captains of two teams were revealed to be nothing like captains at all, traded for each other in a mashing of egos, mirrors, contract negotiations, hurt feelings, pettiness and singularity.
It was almost enough to make Darryl Sittler tear the ‘C’ from his jersey once again, if that wasn’t bad enough the first time around.
This should have been the time of Martin St. Louis’ life. He just won an Olympic gold medal in Sochi. The best shooter in hockey, Steven Stamkos, is set to return to the lineup of the much-improved Tampa Bay Lightning. If Jon Cooper isn’t coach of the year in the NHL, he is certainly on the ballot. How many goalies are playing better than Ben Bishop? And in an Eastern Conference devoid of a great team, somebody has to play for the Stanley Cup and that somebody just might be the Lightning, the team he has represented for 13 seasons.
“I would rather not discuss what brought me to that decision, but in the end this is a decision for my family. I respect the fact that many of you do not agree with my decision and are angry with it. All I really can say is that I am sorry and I am very appreciative of the support you have shown me through the years.
-Martin St. Louis of the New York Rangers in a letter he wrote to Tampa Bay Lightning Fans. You can read the full letter at the Tampa Tribune or check out a tweet below which includes a picture of the letter.
added 12:23pm, Official Tampa Bay release below...
I would have liked to see a no-call, but you can decide.
Pick one, Alex Steen,Ben Bishop or no-call?
from Mike Johnston of Sportsnet,
Seldom do trade requests go over well with fans, regardless of the player’s popularity. Retired stars like Eric Lindros and Patrick Roy were heavily criticized during their careers for the way they handled trade demands.
Lindros and Roy could at times be brash, but St. Louis is known as a stoic player who leads by example. If he remains steadfast in his request to be dealt to the Rangers, what message does that send to others around the league? Not a positive one.
Players like St. Louis and Kesler have no-trade clauses and control their own fate, but when athletes who are paid millions of dollars ask for trades while under contract, it can tarnish their image fast.
From the day he was passed over in the NHL draft to when he was snubbed for Team Canada, St. Louis has been an underdog we can cheer for. That will change if he is wearing a Rangers sweater come March 5.
from Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times,
My guess is Yzerman invites St. Louis into a room and the two sit across from each other and talk. Maybe they talk about the Stanley Cup. Maybe St. Louis talks about his 361 goals or his 948 points or his 968 games for the Lightning. Maybe he talks about winning the Hart Trophy or his two Art Rosses or his Ted Lindsay or his three Lady Byngs.
Maybe they talk about the blood he left on the ice along the way. Maybe Yzerman talks about spending so long in one uniform and what it meant to him to finish in it. Maybe St. Louis remembers the story of the Lightning is etched in those lines on his face.
This is what a legacy is. And this is why St. Louis cannot let it slip away so easily.
In the end, no one can be sure what kind of return St. Louis would bring. Even at 38, he still has some jump in his legs, and he could help a lot of contenders. But is the Lightning going to get back a player who would help the team down the stretch as much as St. Louis? That isn't likely.
Ah, but what if the Lightning keeps St. Louis. Would he be able to turn loose of this so he could focus on the task at hand?
I say yes. Again, we are talking about a prideful player here. I cannot imagine him taking a midnight skate in the middle of a game.
Marty St. Louis had a chance to put the trade rumors to rest earlier today but instead added more speculation to the mix.
I tweeted this earlier but in case you missed it...
Arthur Staple of Newsday included this in a blog post today...
I’ve now heard from three different NHL people that Martin St. Louis did indeed request a trade last month. He has a full no-move clause, so he could pick his destination. That would seem to be the Rangers. St. Louis has an offseason home in Greenwich, Conn.
Have to see how that plays out and whether St. Louis ultimately getting to go to Sochi and win a gold medal has changed his feelings. But if this all stemmed from Steve Yzerman passing St. Louis over for the initial Team Canada roster, that may trump John Tavares’ season-ending injury as exhibit A for owners and GMs never wanting the NHL in the Olympics again.
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