Off the Dot is an ongoing column of opinions, feelings and thoughts on all things Tampa Bay Lightning. This is a knee-jerk reaction column for the many things that a fan maybe feels or thinks throughout a hockey season.
This is NOT a stat by stat analysis of the Bolts, but rather a theater of words concerning the Lightning and the many emotions tangled up in supporting your favorite NHL team; a theater for all fans to come to for a more personal take on Tampa Bay hockey.
That’s why I call it “off the dot”. Because if we were “on the dot”, as in face-off mode, well, things would be decidedly more on-point and specific. While off the dot, while we’re still just milling around the face-off circle, as I am now, waiting for the whistle to blow, then we’re just being conversational. We’re just talking about our thoughts on strategy maybe or whatever random concept happens to come to mind, needing to be expressed. The fun off-key banter of fans before someone (whoever) decides to hunker down, spread out their skates, and get nose-deep over the dot for the real face-off, and maybe say, statistically speaking, what happened in a win or loss in their more researched opinion. And we have those articles all over Bolts by the Bay, and I very much encourage you to check out those articles too.
These are just my opinions, my feelings, and my thoughts – while we’re off the dot.
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis was disappointingly not chosen to participate with the Canadian hockey team in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in February, as the roster was announced yesterday morning.
It’s the second straight time St. Louis has been omitted from the team despite having Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman on the selection committee and general managing the Canadian team (for the second straight games), and I’m pretty sure Marty wasn’t very happy about it.
And you could really tell. He played last night against the Winnipeg Jets with an almost visible chip on his shoulder, maybe the same chip that’s always been there despite all of his many great accomplishments in the NHL.
He played with a stone face for much of the game and little joy seemed to come from the two goals he scored to help lead his team past the Jets 5-3 (helping the Lightning to earn six out of a possible eight points on their four-game road trip) – both goals coming back-to-back in the third period to give the Bolts the lead and some insurance to secure the win.
During the post game interview with the media, Marty was quick to tell the press that he had said all he was going to say about not being chosen for the Canadian Olympic team. But he was down to talk about the Jets game if anyone was interested. The frustration in his face and voice was palpable, and you really could, even through the TV screen, feel just how exasperated Marty was, not just with the Olympic snub, but maybe with having to continually prove himself after all the things he’s already done in the league (for about fifteen years now) to showcase his tenacity, talent and skills.
You can’t help but feel for the guy and wish, for once, that maybe, despite his age, the dude could just get a break on the doubts that have plagued his early career, and seemingly continue to follow him to this day.
I know the league is pretty deep for potential Canadian team members, but after seeing the final list, I find it really hard to believe that Marty wouldn’t have fit on it.
At 38 he’s still one of the best wingers in the league, and it’s quite fitting how he managed to score his final goal of the night to secure Tampa Bay’s win in Winnipeg off a deflected pass that he chased down, speeding across the ice with such ferocity of motion; pumping his shoulders and legs in time, gaining control of the loose puck on the blade of his stick and flicking it securely to the net.
All in one effortless motion; though clearly seeing at the same time that Marty was certainly giving it his all, but looking as if he wasn’t. That’s part of his genius. He makes it all look so easy, even at his age, which is just marvelous as a fan to watch and impressive for every youngster in the league to witness, I would assume.
He is the model, I would think, all players would look towards and wish to emulate.
I can’t help but think he was deliberately putting on a show of sorts with that speed and his efforts (not just in his second goal but his go-ahead first goal as well), speeding past the younger Jets’ players to gain control of that loose puck.
I can’t help but wonder if that EN goal was, once again, Marty’s attempt to shoot more than a puck into that open net, but the chip ever present on his shoulder.
I know it was only an EN goal (and I’m waxing poetic with my assumptions) but I can’t be the only one impressed with the speed of which he chased that puck down; standing tall for his Lightning team, once again, as he always does; setting the example with his own efforts – securing another win for the Lightning as its captain.
That’s what I saw.
The world at large may never get to see his speed, his myriad talents and poise, the stuff that Marty exudes every game as a Bolt, ever again on that big of a stage – but as a Lightning fan, I’ll never get tired of seeing it.
Speaking for the Bolts Nation and Bolts by the Bay.
We’re here for you, Marty. You’ll always be Olympic stuff to us.
See you at home tomorrow against the Caps.