‘Nothing better than playoffs in a big market,’ says Martin St. Louis

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Go ahead and accuse me of reading too much into a quote, but I found this one from Martin St. Louis (courtesy NHL.com’s Tal Pinchevsky) rather interesting…

Ever since St. Louis demanded and got his trade out of Tampa Bay, the conversation about playoff opportunity has been prevalent. He left a Bolts team to join very similar a Rangers team, at least in terms of standings — Tampa has 95 points to New York’s 93, both are going to finish either second or third in their respective divisions, and both are within striking distance of the 45-win plateau (the Rangers need one more, the Lightning two.)

Prior to the Ben Bishop injury, you’d be hard pressed to say the Rangers were an overwhelming Cup contender compared to Tampa Bay…which could lead you to speculate that, just maybe (and for lack of a better explanation), St. Louis thought it’d be cooler to win a Cup in New York than win another one in Tampa Bay.

Since neither St. Louis nor the Lightning would divulge reasons as to why he wanted out — the rift with GM Steve Yzerman over the Canadian Olympic snub was the prevailing thought, but never confirmed — many were left to speculate. Sure, St. Louis referenced the desire to play closer to his home base in Connecticut (“I always felt as my kids got older, I would try to come here,” he said). But after 13 seasons in Tampa, he could’ve waited until the offseason to demand a trade if that was the case — what would’ve a few extra months been?

Well, they might’ve been a lot for someone that had been thinking about leaving for quite some time.

Per the Tampa Bay Times:

St. Louis said he considered leaving years ago, especially after then-owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie traded defenseman Dan Boyle in July 2008.

“But I’ll be honest with you,” St. Louis said. “(Steven Stamkos) comes along (in the 2008-09 season) and it’s a lot of fun playing with Stammer. There were things pulling me in, but every year the equation changes. There are moving parts. You assess.”

The most recent assessment:

“One of my biggest things, honestly, is I never see my kids play hockey,” St. Louis said. “Just, for instance, my oldest has gone, since September, to Detroit three times, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Rochester, Atlanta. You’ve got to go outside the state to play pretty good competition. My wife and dad flies with him. I’m not saying Florida hockey is no good, but if you want to play against good competition you have to go outside.”

There are more opportunities in the Northeast, St. Louis said.

“It’s easier,” he said. “With the things between me and Steve [Yzerman] and you put in my kids, this was the best thing for everybody.”

A legit explanation. But hard to imagine Lightning fans agree with the last part.