Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis is beyond being described as just the exception to the rule. How many strikes can life throw at a guy, yet he still finds success?
Listed at just 5-foot-8, St. Louis made his NHL debut with Calgary in 1998, but has spent most of his career in Florida. While those few facts alone would normally be enough to put him a several steps behind most of his peers, St. Louis can now say he’s done something only 15 men before him have accomplished. On Tuesday night in LA he played in his 1,000th NHL game, a rare feat for someone who wasn’t even drafted.
Life with the Lightning hasn’t always been easy though. Sure, there was the Stanley Cup he won in 2004. But, there’s also been many dark periods and losing seasons. Individually, he’s been an All-Star six times, twice won the Art Ross Trophy, as the league’s leading scorer, and picked up the Hart Memorial Trophy (Most Valuable Player) in 2004.
Last season, he earned his third Lady Byng Trophy, given to the player deemed to be most gentlemanly.
Best of all though, GM Steve Yzerman appears to have the Lightning headed in the right direction once again. And despite the recent loss of Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay is fighting it out with Boston at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Now serving as the team’s captain. St. Louis was front and center, and the last guy left in the locker room answering questions, following their 5-2 loss to the Kings on Tuesday.
Here’s what he had to share…
On what improvements the team has to make:
“Correcting the mistakes and making sure we don’t go on… we have to stop this, you know? We don’t want to turn a two gamer into four, five gamer. Be honest, assess your game. Be honest in how you’re playing and at the end of the day we all have to do more.”
On if the team had the right effort tonight:
“I don’t know. Sometimes hard work is overlooked over execution, you know? Execution is sometimes just as important as working hard. I think working hard is a given. Obviously when you’re not getting results, you want to go back to simplifying a little bit. It starts with hard work, but at the same time we need better execution. It comes hand in hand. When you’re executing well, you look like you’re working hard. Sometimes you’re not executing well and you might look like you’re not working hard. They come hand in hand but obviously the work ethic has to be there. I don’t think it’s been an issue for our team this year, but we have to want it a little bit more, especially when the puck drops. I said before, it’s a lot easier to play when you’re down by three than when it’s 0-0. When you have to make good decisions and play to score a little bit, you know?”
On if he was surprised that the energy from practice didn’t carry over into the game:
“We are getting some unlucky bounces, a little bit. So that makes it look worse. I don’t think it was a 5-2 game. We’ve had some good bounces go our way this year. Right now it’s just not. I believe if you earn it every night, you’re going to get some bounces. It all probably averages out and equalizes toward the end of the year. Right now we’re not getting those bounces and we need to go get them. Don’t wait for something good to happen. Individually you have to try and want to be different and not wait for something to happen.”
On if the team will get through this bump in the road:
“Yeah. We will.”
Sounding like the seasoned veteran he is, St. Louis’ last answer speaks to the life of a pro athlete, one that’s filled with many peaks and valleys. In this case, he and the Lightning are certainly hoping to get back to their winning ways sooner rather than later.
However, having already lost both games to start their current road trip, as they’ll be facing the Sharks and Ducks on back-to-back nights starting Thursday. We took a closer look at what a daunting task that can be in an article here earlier this week.
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