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2015 NHL Playoffs: Confronted by the drama (again)

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The Eastern Conference Finals stirs up a touchy subject: Martin St. Louis.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Just when I think I'm out, they drag me back in!

-        Don Michael Corleone, The Godather Part 3

Time heals wounds, they say. In this case, sport has imitated art which has imitated life in a way - every time you think you're through with a situation, it comes back to invoke itself again.

Going through the Martin St. Louis saga at the 2014 trade deadline was a tough incident; beloved player asks for out with the franchise. He wasn't clear and left the fan-base that loved him be tortured by the rumors.  His out from Tampa Bay festered by way of his own words in the New York media during what amounted to the Rangers playoff run that ended in a Stanley Cup Finals loss to the Los Angeles Kings).

Lightning fans were confronted anew by the drama of Marty's trade in November/December 2014 when the NHL schedule had the Lightning and the Rangers play their 3-game regular-season series within a two-week window. Two of the three games in the series were played in New York, making the November 26th game in Tampa a grand sideshow leading in to the contest itself.

But by 10 PM on December 1st, it was over, done with, gone bye-bye. The Lightning swept the series and was getting ready to travel to Buffalo for the flip-side of a back-to-back series. The distraction was over, and some healing had started for the fans back home by way of it.

It shouldn't matter anymore and for the rest of the NHL watching from outside of the fray, it probably doesn't... but it does for Tampa Bay fans as the Lightning and the Rangers go at it in the Eastern Conference Finals for the right to play for the Stanley Cup. It's not an old rivalry renewed (as the Rangers/ Capitals series was touted) but a rehash of a distraction that we'd rather move away from, that we thought we were done with for the season. Now we're smacked in the face with it again.

It was more than a year ago Cassie McClellan wrote that the St. Louis trade shouldn't be something to dwell in and despair about, but to be a driver for the playoffs. The 2014 playoffs were the ones she squared in on because the Lightning was heading there at the time... Circumstances helped ruin a playoff run for the Bolts back then. The opportunity to be motivated by the desertion of MSL can be had now.

For the record, Marty has only 4 points in the playoffs - all being assists. He's not the central figure in the Rangers offense.

Still, it's Marty... and this drama rises back to the top and will play out to one extent or another over the next two weeks.