I’ve realized that Martin St. Louis is either clairvoyant or is incredible in writing his own script that nobody wanted to read.
When the grumblings that the Tampa Bay Lightning captain wanted out became true, you could feel Tampa Bay shake with heartbreak and anger on both sides of the Sunshine Skyway.
Why now, fans thought? Why can’t you win with the Lightning–the team was rolling, fans also pondered.
St. Louis told reporters he wanted another kick at the Stanley Cup and specifically wanted to go to the New York Rangers. Brad Richards is there–the Conn Smythe winner from 2004 he carried the Cup with. So are familiar faces and former Bolts Benoit Pouliot and Dominic Moore.
Lightning fans, including myself crowed over Ryan Callahan potting points after the trade while Mighty Marty looked lost in the Big Apple.
Instead, crow is being served during the second course. The Lightning were bounced in four straight by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round with Ryan Callahan struggling to find the net while Marty found his groove in the playoffs. He’s been able to find the empty space at the far face-off circles again and even more important, his teammates now know where to look for him.
During the second round, his other France St. Louis had a heart attack and died. Somehow, the guy was able to focus and on pure heart and emotion he stepped up his game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Then just like 10 years ago, he met Montreal in the playoffs and devoured them with the help of buddy Brad Richards. He’s tied for eighth for playoff goals this year with six, has 15 points and has an OT winner.
Marty also said during his Tampa farewells he wanted his family to be closer to their offseason home in Greenwich, Conn., and allow his sons to play better hockey plus watch them play. Nobody would have thought he would have to put all his family planning into place this quickly–especially for unexpected tragedy–but he was in the right place at the right time.
Sure, Marty could instead be sitting in Tampa instead if he were still with the Bolts when his mother died. The attention from media wouldn’t have been as strong because it’s the offseason he would have probably been at his home in Greenwich anyway, and in a lot of ways it would contributed to a different story–a sad one of playoff heartbreak, a grumpy captain who wanted out and death.
That’s not the script Marty is writing. He’s becoming increasingly inspiring, and I wish some fans here in Tampa Bay would look at the bigger picture.
You are potentially watching a generational story of hockey lure unfold. The guy everybody counted out, even the Calgary Flames, rises to be a dominant player and champion, ages and becomes the villain when he finally his captain and says he’s checked out and will only go to one team. He picks his team, deals with the death of his mother and now is four wins away from a Stanley Cup.
This is what sports documentaries are made of. This is the story you won’t mind watching for the 500th time during the summer NHL Network hiatus.
This movie will end at a maximum of seven games, and Marty has certainly proven he’s the director. Nobody wants to see the alternate ending, either.
Marty: Give us the ending we’ve been waiting for.