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St. Louis Getting His Game Back

Martin St. Louis was on an NHL tele-conference today after being named the First Star for last week...
Q. Watching a couple of your games, the third goal last night against Ottawa, the overtime goal the other night, sort of shooting from different angles. Are you shooting a bit more, do you find? MARTIN ST. LOUIS: I don't know if I'm shooting more. I mean, sometimes you're in those situations where you can put the puck on net and good things happen. Maybe when you score a few goals, you start to feel good about yourself. You start to feel you want to take it to the net more often. I'm definitely in that frame of mind. When you have success, I think you just try to do it a little more often.

DAVID KEON: Good afternoon, everyone. I’m David Keon of the National Hockey League’s public relations department. I’d like to welcome you to today’s call. With us we have Tampa Bay Lighting right-winger Martin St. Louis. Thanks to Martin for taking the time today to answer your questions and thanks to Bill Wickett of the Lightning public relations department for arranging today’s call.
Earlier today Martin was named first star of the week after posting four goals and five assists for nine points as the Lightning won three of our games last week. In his eighth NHL season, six with the Lightning, the 2004 Hart Trophy winner has tallied 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points, tying him for fifth in overall National Hockey League scoring. His 15 goals are fifth in the NHL this season, trailing Brendan Shanahan who leads with 17 and three others tied with 16.
The Lightning host Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals tomorrow and travel to Boston to meet the Bruins on Thursday, then Ottawa where they take on the Senators this Saturday.
Again, we thank Martin for taking the time to join us and answer your questions.
Q. Could you talk about what has been the difference in Marty St. Louis this season from last season.
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: Well, I think last year, after coming off the lockout, obviously having won the Cup the year before, personal accolades, I think I put a little too much pressure on myself, didn’t get off to a good start, then I started putting pressure more and more. It ended up backfiring on me. I finished the year strong. I was trying to carry that into the summer, my off-ice workouts, carry that into this year.
I didn’t start strong this year, but I was playing much better than I was at the time last year. I figured, just keep going, it’s a matter of time.
Q. Watching a couple of your games, the third goal last night against Ottawa, the overtime goal the other night, sort of shooting from different angles. Are you shooting a bit more, do you find?
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: I don’t know if I’m shooting more. I mean, sometimes you’re in those situations where you can put the puck on net and good things happen. Maybe when you score a few goals, you start to feel good about yourself. You start to feel you want to take it to the net more often. I’m definitely in that frame of mind. When you have success, I think you just try to do it a little more often.
Q. The Lightning seem to come out of the gate pretty slowly. What has turned your team lately, playing better?
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: I think it’s a combination of many things. I think we’re finally getting some offense from our back end. That helps a lot. We’re playing good away from the puck. I know everybody can say that, but it’s really one way to win hockey games in this league. If you don’t try to compete, you don’t have the puck, the other team has it more, you’re playing against good teams, most likely they’ll beat you. I think we had a tough night in Buffalo last week. I think we bounced back from that. We’ll just get back to work.
We know we’re not going to win every game. I think if you play well away from the puck, we have enough talent on our team when we have the puck, we can make stuff happen. We’re going to have success.
I think it’s a matter of competing.
Q. From this distance, it’s a long way away from Tampa, seems your team never caught its stride since winning the Cup. To what do you attribute that?
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: Obviously we’ve had a lot of changes. We haven’t been—we’re not the same team the year we won the Cup. I think this year we have a lot of new guys. I think it takes time for the chemistry, takes time to get our stride.
I feel good right now. I like our team. I think we’re deeper than before. I’m confident we’ll have a fair amount of succes s this year if we keep competing the way we can.
Q. Your thoughts on Richards, now that he’s signed a big contract? Do you see some comparisons there?
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: I think like you said before, he’s used to flying under the radar a little bit. I think with the contract he has, I think he’s a guy that really cares about his play, puts a lot of pressure on himself. I think he’s letting his game go recently. He’s a good player. He’s going to have success the way we all know he can play. Glad to see things are going his way.
At the beginning, he was playing a lot of hockey, not getting rewarded. If I’m correct, he had an eight-game point streak going. That was a big confidence booster for him. Now he’s going again. Happy that he’s playing well.
Q. If you look at your division for a second, Atlanta getting off to a great start, of course Carolina playing better now, too, certainly your work is cut out in that division.
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: It’s going to be a dogfight. We know our divisional games are so important. It’s a long year. Just got to keep up with the pack, try to get hot at the right time.
Q. Speaking about the Atlantic Division, you have had the last two Cup winners, Atlanta looks good. Does the whole division fly under the radar? Do you get the recognition you deserve maybe?
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: I don’t know. I think the people used to knock down our division a lot. It’s nice to see the last two years we have the two Cup champions. I think we’ve earned a little more respect now. I think Carolina, Atlanta, ourselves, even Washington is a much better team than last year, and they can beat you on any given night. Florida, I know they’ve had a lot of personnel change, but they’re still a team you have to play really well to beat.
By no means is it an easy division any more. I think we finally get the respect.
Q. Is that kind of important or do you sort of go about your business?
MARTIN ST. LOUIS: I mean, trust me, I don’t mind flying under the radar, going to the Cup final and winning it. That’s fine with us.

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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