I've had conversations with Steve about my future with the team and I'll leave it at that.
- Martin St. Louis, February 26th, 2014
There's a great scene in the movie "The Godfather" that plays out on the tail end of the climax of the film: Don Michael Corleone settles all family business tied to the Corleone crime family on the day of his father's funeral; his men assassinate all rivals in an act of vengeance and as a power grab. The last piece of business that he takes care of that day is that of his brother-in-law, Carlo Rizzi, who had a hand in the murder of Michael's brother.
"You have to answer for Santino, Carlo."
In the end, Michael coaxes out an admission from Carlo of whom he was working for that led to Sonny's death (and then he has Carlo strangled... Hey, it's the mafia, they don't throw retirement parties.)
The point being that, when confronted, you have to own up to things you have said or done. You can't hide or expect things to be overlooked, especially in business.
Professional sports are a business, though we would prefer to see it as entertainment and a pastime. It's a business and you have to accept the business aspects of the game. It's always something working in the background with things that we can't see as fans. The business side of the game is largely kept out of public view; the interactions between team executives and players, the locker room, the phone calls between players and agents, the calls between general managers. It's all business.
It's not personal (though it absolutely is), it's business.
This leads me to this message I have for Martin St. Louis: You have to acknowledge your trade request, Marty.
You really think you can lay out an aloof and ambiguous statement in the public eye with the hockey world looking on, and people just brush it aside, or that it won't affect anything? You believe you can get away with the little cat-and-mouse game that you've played in the past with the local beat reporters who respect the hell out of you and it'll just end there? You may very well end up getting your trade, if Slats and Yzerman can actually make one work, but don't put off admitting that you want out. It insults the fans and your teammates and has consequences detrimental to the team.
Own up to it. You've been around long enough that you know this is all business. Outside of your issues with the club that we don't know, you have a family to look after too and the tri-state area has a higher quality of life than Florida in many regards. Maybe you don't want to make a stink about every peeve you have with the organization and the locker room, and that's not necessary to blurt out at this time, but don't string along the public like this. The fans in Tampa have emotional and financial investments that are inspired by you, and slinking away from acknowledging that is sleazy and beneath you.
If I'm completely wrong here, if I'm spouting my bitter little tirade based off a trade request that has been retracted or that never really existed, this is a seed that you've helped sow in more people than just me; letting them think that you actually want out and not correcting it and saying, "that's false."
If everything is false, then you're stringing along the hockey public and New York Ranger fans and media. If that's the case let me remind you that the New York media doesn't give such a wide berth to athletes and coaches when they get irked. Place a phone call to British Columbia and ask your former head coach how laid back the reporters with the New York Times, Daily News, Newsday, New York Post, WABC, WCBS, WNBC, etc, etc, etc, tended to be with him.
You ought to answer to this, Marty. While your biggest fans will make sure to stress the fact that you owe us - Lightning fans in general - nothing with thanks to your service and dedication to the club over the years, but it's because of your relationship to the fans and being such an integral part of the organization that we should hear a direct admission or denial from you about this.
It's the business of the game to say you want out, and that's your escape. You don't have to say another word. It's the business of the sport to let these rumors run rampant when they're factually incorrect - that's the perfect way to blame this whole mess on media people such as myself. Either way, answer to it instead of ducking away. We'll all be better off for it.