When Martin St. Louis wasn’t initially selected by his own NHL team’s GM for Team Canada, he felt he had been done so wrong that he asked for a trade from the franchise he’s been a part of for 14 years, more or less out of spite.
That comes off as a pretty strong Prima donna move. It comes off as conceited and borderline petty. How unbelievably opaque is that viewpoint from a 38-year-old guy whose one dimension is creating offense when he’s trying to crack a team that doesn’t lack that and might be able to find more from other players in other facets of the game?
Before any fans of St. Louis or the Lightning get too upset with me, some totally sincere qualifiers: I think Martin St. Louis is a stud of a hockey player. I think he’s been a good guy throughout his career, an ambassador for the game, and a player with one of the more admirable work ethics in hockey. But I think this move was the pits.
It’s as blindfolded as those diehard fans who believe everything their favorite team does is great. There are Islanders and Oilers fans who can’t honestly assess that their teams have been trash for years – bottom of the barrel, garbage water bad. They still think they keep getting wronged by the ref or some other third party.
For St. Louis to not be able to look at Team Canada’s roster and assess how amazingly, incredibly deep it was and say “Damn, that is one amazing team, I must have been close though” instead of throwing a Denny Lemieux “Trade me right f***ing now” tantrum isn’t a great reflection on how he views both himself and his relationship with the brass.
Was Steve Yzerman supposed to throw him a bone if he truly didn’t believe he was the best fit for the group? Should Yzerman have taken the advice of the multitude of other great hockey minds and gone against them to keep his own player happy?
He was hired to pick what he believed to be the best team possible, and he obviously did the best he could (which was pretty darn good). It’s not like he wouldn’t pick St. Louis to make some personal dig. He’s not a moron.
So, St. Louis was overly sensitive, asked for a trade…and then ends up making the team as the first alternate anyway, and actually getting minutes in the gold medal game. That has to be a little bit awkward, no? Like insulting a friend for not inviting you to his wedding, then finding the RSVP wedged behind the mailbox a month later? Do you pretend like you never found the invite after that and “stay mad” to save face, or come crawling back?
It’s not that I think they won’t be able to work it out. You remember when Ryan O’Reilly and the Avalanche had their contract struggles a year-plus ago, and everyone thought they would move him the second they could, then…oh will you look at that, time heals. They’re going to bend over backward to keep the guy.
I’m sure Yzerman will go out of his way to talk to St. Louis face-to-face, and it’ll be awkward, but they’ll leave the room on good terms. Then Marty will get in some more games, and he’ll try his bag off because that’s the only way he knows how to play, and with a few more wins and the odd loss the feelings of disappointment will be a distant memory, and the playoffs and the Cup will become the focus. I have no doubt they’ll work it out.
If they don’t, and Yzerman is forced to trade the defending Art Ross Trophy winner because he believed the GM of Team Canada shouldn’t pick exactly who he believes would give the team the best shot to win, well that’d be pretty sad. The initial frustration might be forgivable if they’re able to patch things up. If not, I think it alters what should be a beautiful legacy for a classy guy who’s name is associated* with one team.
You know, like Steve Yzerman’s.
*Yes, I know he played for the Flames.