Martin St. Louis has experienced the widest range of emotions this spring, from on the ice in the Stanley Cup playoffs with the New York Rangers to the sudden and tragic passing of his mother.
He has since become arguably the most inspirational figure in these playoffs, helping the Rangers battle their way to the Stanley Cup Final against the L.A. Kings, with six goals – including two game winners – and 13 points in 20 post-season games. Now, at the age of 38, he’s back in the championship series for the first time in 10 years following that blockbuster trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning at the deadline.
It’s been a whirlwind journey this season for the skilled forward. Left off Canada’s Olympic roster, then, because of an injury to Steven Stamkos, St. Louis was named to the team that went on to win gold in Sochi, to a trade from a team he spent 12 full seasons with to the bright lights of New York, and through the spring.
“At the end of the day,I made that move thinking of this opportunity, to have this chance to play in a Stanley Cup Final,” St. Louis told reporters.
Standing at just 5’8″ tall, St. Louis has already had to fight through more than most players in the league simply because of his size. But losing a family member during an already intense time of the year is completely different.
He’s persevered. His teammates have been there for him, attending his mother’s funeral. The Rangers have rallied. They were trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in the second round and looked on their way to a sure defeat.
In the wake of the tragedy their teammate faced, they came together to beat Pittsburgh, then rolled past the Montreal Canadiens to claim the East.
“When it happened we were in a tough spot. We put ourselves in a big hole by losing two at home. Flying to Pittsburgh it felt like things could not get any worse and then you find that out and you realize that thing can actually get worse,” said New York’s goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
“We just came together as a group. We acted the right way … to be there for Marty and his family but at the same time you have to do what you can to play your absolute best.”
St. Louis has been grateful.
“My teammates have been nothing but supportive, with everything. You come to a new team, the support I got was great, but then with the situation with my mom, even greater support then.”