By Allan Muir
So the media in Tampa had a chance to speak with Martin St. Louis after practice on Wednesday morning. They had plenty to talk about: His Olympic success, the stretch run for the Lightning.
Oh, and those rumors.
You know, the ones that suggested that St. Louis had been so insulted when Steve Yzerman, then the GM for both Team Canada and Tampa Bay, initially snubbed him for Sochi that he demanded a trade? Well, the Bolts winger could have put them sweetly to rest. Instead, this is what he had to say:
St Louis addresses trade rumors with brief answer "I've had conversations with Steve about my future with the team and I'll leave it at that—
Erik Erlendsson (@erlendssonTBO) February 26, 2014
Not too hard to read between those well-spaced lines, but less than an hour later came this:
That gold medal may have been the highlight of his career, but apparently it wasn’t enough to make all the bad feelings go away.
You could feel for the guy six weeks ago when the roster was originally named. The reigning scoring champ, a natural winger, a great two-way player — he seemed like a good bet to make the national team. When he didn’t it was a real blow to his pride.
But that’s the way it goes when you’re competing with the world’s deepest talent pool and trying to fit into a very specific vision for Team Canada. And it’s not like he was alone in being snubbed. Joe Thornton didn’t get a sniff despite being the NHL’s assist leader this season. And P.K. Subban, who was named to the club, spent all but one game in the press box despite being the most recent winner of the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman. Both accepted their fates like the professionals they are.
But whether St. Louis’ feelings are right or wrong, they’re still his. And even though he eventually was named to the squad as a replacement for injured Lightning teammate Steven Stamkos, the wound he suffered is obviously still very raw. If St. Louis feels both sides would be best served by going their separate ways, that’s something Tampa Bay will likely respect.
The 38-year-old winger has one year remaining with the Lightning on a deal that pays him $5.625 million per year (both actual salary and cap hit). He also has a no-movement clause that could limit where Yzerman is able to send him, but there should be no shortage of suitors for his services, including the Kings and Canucks.