The Lightning are out of town to end the season or a very specific reason (and hockey-centric for that matter) as the 2016 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Frozen Four games take place at Amalie Arena for the second time in four years. It's drawn in college fans and national media (ESPN? Covering hockey and televising games? That's a rare event) as well as former collegiate stars... Like Martin St. Louis.
Yes, Marty is in town.
This is... well, this is awkward, at least from the fan perspective. Rehashing history and what transpired two years ago that's causing any type of peculiar reaction is not worth dwelling on. It happened, it's over. Marty St. Louis is retired from the game and the Lightning directly ended his playing career by topping his New York Rangers in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals.
Marty's in town though and spoke with the media about a range of subjectsâ
"It really feels like I'm back in my hometown. I feel like I grew up here in so many ways. My kids were born here, raised here. ... I was here for 14 years. It's a big part of my life. I realized when I landed here, I was like 'Wow, this is home."
Sigh... And this is why things feel awkward: This was home, and we were his brothers, sisters, cousins and relatives. We loved this man for how much he gave to the franchise and to the region through performance, heroics, charity and achievement. He does have and will always have that weight in the team (and town) history books.
St. Louis' interview went with the press went further than that; he spoke about Steven Stamkos and Stammer's medical condition, about playing with three great centers in Tampa during his career here (Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier and Stamkos). I recommend a click-through, though the interview is .presented in just bullet points. There's also a vague line that seems pointed at the media (or is it the Lightning) regarding Stamkos as a free agent and his future.
"He's the face of the franchise, in a contract year. It's going to be talked about. You guys have a job to do. Stammer's been focused on playing some good hockey and was playing great. [...]"
The quote's been shortened here, and the context of the response has been shortened, but I'm guessing his take is addressing reporter curiosity in general (why they brought it up; you have a job - to talk about this stuff / ask). Maybe not... It's not a major swing point whatsoever though.
It's good to know that the Dynamo-That-Made-The-Lightning-Go is around here for a few days, though. Even if you're still bitter about the events of 2014, there's no way you can question the stake the former #26 has in team history for his feats and achievements on ice.