Jan 23, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis (26) skates on the ice against the Ottawa Senators during the first period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Is Martin St. Louis Leaving the Tampa Bay Lightning?

This season has been very exciting for the Tampa Bay Lightning, in ways both good and bad:  weathering constant injuries yet staying near the top of the division, being delighted by the stellar performances of rookies but now facing the latest controversy over a possible trade.  We’ve been through surprising trades before (who anticipated the Cory Conacher trade?) but we kept the faith with GM Steve Yzerman‘s vision and that brought us G Ben Bishop.  Need I say more?

Obviously, I do.

This latest possibility regarding Martin St. Louis is kind of a head-scratcher, but then again, not really.  When I first heard about it, I attributed it to a slight case of knee-jerk sour grapes but felt it occurred before the gold-medal win and it was over and done with.

The more I looked into it, the more skeptical I became that it was not over.  The local papers the next day hardly addressed it, and then there was the ultimate cliff-hanger after-practice interview when neither St. Louis nor Yzerman would confirm or deny anything specific.

I can’t help but wonder if there is more to the story than just hurt feelings over an Olympic snub.  Perhaps.  There were others not invited to the Olympics, and you don’t hear them grousing about trades (thank you, Ben Bishop.)

At the risk of incurring some wrath, I am now putting on my flame suit and saying this:  Fine.  Let Marty take his shiny new gold medal and go home. He has lost a lot of fan respect with this little tantrum, and we deserve better.  I personally have felt that Marty hasn’t played up to his potential for some time now, and I agreed with Yzerman and the Canadian selection team when they didn’t pick him.  He has slowed on the ice, passed too many pucks and lost shooting opportunities that I find very frustrating.  I took notice that only in the last 3-5 minutes of a game will he pour on the coal, streak down the ice, and set up in an attempt to be the hero with the last-minute goal, many of which missed the mark. He took his time during line changes when the team could ill afford it and wasn’t nearly as aggressive going after the puck as he used to.

He really didn’t put in many minutes on the Olympic ice either, for that matter.

In no way do I profess to know what’s going on in his head or heart, so I write this only as my opinion.  I hope there is more to the story and that Marty returns to being the great player we all knew and loved.  We have a great team and I would hate to see it start to disintegrate because of this childish display.  Is Marty leaving?  Maybe he’s already left.

Let the flames begin.

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Tags: Martin St Louis Steve Yzerman Tampa Bay Lightning

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