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GREENWICH, Connecticut | Martin St-Louis has completed the loop. Not only has he confused the coaches and recruiters who felt they were too small to make a career in the national hockey League, but now he enters the Pantheon of hockey by the great door, at the end of the week in Toronto. His story would make a good movie script. Notice to quebec producers.
If his aim was always to play in the NHL, he would never have thought to accomplish many things during his career of 16 seasons.
“Taking into account of my journey, I would have played that a match that it would have been great,” he says.
The man that he is did not, however, settle for so little. His determination has led him to the highest peaks.
“Your goals change when you taste the big league,” continues St-Louis.
“You think you can do more. You say stronger than the player next to you. You want to do your place. When you win the Stanley cup, you want to win another. You referred to the plateau of the 1000 matches. “
St-Louis has done much more than that.
“If someone had told me after my 100 or 200 first games that I remporterais two championship markers, the Hart trophy, the Ted Lindsay trophy, the Stanley cup finals and three trophies Lady Byng, I never would have believed it “, he adds.
“Things happen for a reason, but you clamps a bit. You say : “Hey ! it is I who have done it.” I’m surprised myself. “
A bad for a good
St-Louis is too modest. Success is not luck in a sport such as hockey. The best players say that all the talent in the world is not enough.
The little guy in the quartier Sainte-Dorothée to Laval has blocked fort. No organization in the NHL has drafted. Even after everything was broken in the university ranks american with the Catamounts of the university of Vermont, no organization of the NHL did not deign to offer him a chance.
Even the teams of the american League didn’t want him. He ended up with the Lumberjacks of Cleveland, of the international League. It is from there that some leaders of the NHL have started to say that there was perhaps something to be learned from him.
The Calgary Flames have granted a contract. It played its first two games in the NHL in Japan. Coach Brian Sutter was paired with Theoren Fleury and Andrew Cassels to the breast of the first trio. His two companions have earned their share of points, but he is back to the country with nothing on his record.
“I don’t remember how I had played there, but I have seen a decrease in diet upon our return,” he recalls.
“It was as if I was too impressed. I was ready physically, but not mentally. I was a fan. I began to shuttle between the national League and the american League. I managed to express very well in the AHL. I was the first scorer of the team.
“In my second season, I was unable to get me a place in the first two trios in Calgary. But I don’t know if I was ready for such a role. The other hand, I was too strong for the american League. “
Return to the box departure
Sutter has started to use it in a defensive role, that St Louis had never done before. With the benefit of hindsight, he believes that it is the best thing that could happen to him. The experience allowed him to deepen his knowledge of the game. As the season wore on, his confidence level increased.
At the end of the year, the general manager Al Coates and Sutter told him that they were satisfied with her outfit. But they had not expected to lose their jobs. Craig Button was the successor to Coates and priorities of the organization have changed.
“Daniel Tkaczuk and Rico Fata, two first choice, arrived. And the management wanted to play a game, ” said St-Louis.
“I don’t blame Button. Perhaps I would have done the same thing. “
St-Louis is found Gros-Jean as before. Once again.
He started to knock on doors. A former Canadian, Rick Dudley, who has assisted Marc Bergevin in his first six seasons in the general direction of the CH, was welcomed to the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“I was no longer only a player character offensive,” says St-Louis.
“I had learned the other facets of the game. I “killed” the punishments, I was used in difficult situations late in the game. “
A star is born
After two seasons strong, respectable, the national League has got acquainted with a new star player of 5 feet and 8 inches, and 175 lbs.
Between the seasons 2002-2003 and fiscal year 2014-2015 for St-Louis was the second scorer in the NHL behind Joe Thornton.
And it is he who has done it all. As a great one.
The role of the coach is interested in
In 2004, Martin St-Louis raised the Stanley cup with the Lightning.
A former athlete, 43-year-old still has a whole life ahead of him. So we can guess that Martin St-Louis of the projects.
“I plan to stay in the world of hockey, probably as a coach “, he says.
“But not before children are old enough to cope well. It is important to be with them at this time of their life. They are at the age where I can teach them the values that I have learned. “
In the pros
St-Louis is seen heading into the professional ranks.
“I love being in the trenches. I have the passion, I think I will be able to push the players. Coaching, it’s managing people. “
The Quebecers would have what it takes to lead as many star players as support players.
“I think the experiences I have had as a player would help me in this direction “, does it.
“I have known all the steps. I know that all types of players can feel. I was left in the stands. I played in the american League. I have been used in the third-three. I evolved within the first three.
“A player of the first trio does not as a third player trio. There are ways to do it. “
The determination of his mother
France St-Louis proudly wears the olympic gold medal in Sochi to his son, won in 2014.
Any comparison is lame, it is said. But I’ve always thought that in terms of character, Martin St-Louis was the player from quebec who approached more than Maurice Richard.
The new member of the Pantheon of the hockey was of a rare intensity. He was so absorbed by his job that we wondered if he could relax.
“It may be the side least known of my person,” he says.
“Before games, I was doing the small things. I knew I could make jokes. There is a time for fun. When the match began, I was focused on my work. “
Convinced and convincing
When you ask him which parent he wishes, he replies : “a little bit of both “. He then takes a pause before speaking again in a tone broken by emotion.
“My mother had a dog,” he says.
France St-Louis has been carried away by a heart attack during the series of 2014. She was aged 63 years.
Martin St-Louis has been through a lot this year.
The leaders of the canadian olympic team, including its general manager Steve Yzerman with the Tampa Bay Lightning, had not thought proper to select for the Sochi Games. He was finally called in to replace his teammate Steven Stamkos, who was forced to withdraw due to an injury.
Martin St-Louis has assisted in the early days of Steven Stamkos in the NHL.
St. Louis asked to be traded, which was done shortly after the olympic Games. He went to the New York Rangers. The team in new york showed a deficit of 3 to 1 in the face of the Penguins in the second round of the series when he learned of the death of his mother.
Knowing that it would not have wanted to take a break, he has continued to play to help his family to eliminate the Penguins, then the Canadian in the final of the Is.
“His side determined did not appear, because it was one of the best people I have known in my life,” continues St-Louis.
“She was nice with everyone. But when someone was harsh with me, she told me not to me. “You’ll see, you’ll show them !”, she’d launched. She was convinced and convincing. She gave me a lot of confidence. “
Tortorella or the real things
Tampa, St. Louis fell on John Tortorella, a coach who is not in the lace. He loved to play under his orders even if it meant a lot of rough discussions on the occasion.
“What I liked from him is that there was communication,” he explains.
“You don’t want to always hear what he said. I hit often with it, but it’s not that I didn’t love him. Once we had finished talking, it was finished.
“My father is like that. I knew when he was not pleased with me. He said this to me and it ended there. Tortorella was hard and demanding but he was fair. “
The coach was in the guard of honour when the Lightning was withdrawn the shirt number 26 of St-Louis, the first in the history of the franchise. St-Louis had adopted this number as a tribute to his childhood idol Mats Naslund, whose small size has not prevented a successful career with the Canadian.
The number 26 has been removed at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on January 13, 2017.
Feat to be the Gretzky
Tortorella was the first coach to use St-Louis with a trio of offensive in the NHL. During the 2003-2004 season, the Quebecers won the first of his two championships markers in a league where the players are holding back and clung to that better better.
“I hung on for me too ! “says St-Louis, smiling.
“To be successful, you have to adapt yourself to all situations. It’s part of the equation. It was weird to beat me to the first row of markers with Joe Sakic and Ilya Kovalchuk. Sakic has had a great career and Kovalchuk was [also] a first choice in the draft. “
With a total of 94 points, St-Louis had gone ahead of his two rivals by seven points. That season, he became the first player to win the Stanley cup, the championship of the markers and the title of the most valuable player to his team since Wayne Gretzky in 1987.
Martin St-Louis and his friend Eric Perrin brought the Stanley cup to Laval in 2004.
His second title of the counters has brought him the same satisfaction, even if it is produced in a calendar reduced to 48 games.
“I was 37 years old and the league rajeunissait,” he said.
“The game was faster. I had to adjust once again. I had just signed a four-year contract and I would have been able to be less hungry. I am proud of my two championship markers, but I had other good seasons between the two.
“It is more difficult to finish first marker, at different periods, that consecutively. “
Well in his skin father full-time
Martin St-Louis, his wife Heather and their three boys live in the verdant landscape of the Connecticut, about fifty miles of New York, since he has retired from hockey.
He was at a soccer game his son Lucas, the second, when he gave me an appointment.
He still had mileage in skates when he returned home three years ago. He had experienced a season of 21 goals and 31 assists for a total of 52 points in 74 games. It was not bad for a player who was headed for 40 years.
He would have been able to continue, but he decided to become a father full-time.
“One day, you wake up and you realize that you have three guys who play hockey “, he says.
“I had not done very much a part of their life so far. When you’re a professional athlete, you’re going through a phase very selfish of your life. You have virtually no choice but to be like that. Everything is centered on you. “
Nothing to prove
St-Louis gave himself up to introspection.
“I asked myself what I could get in hockey,” he said.
“The questions follow each other in your head. That is what I would have wanted to prove if I had played another year ? The Stanley cup ? I had it for. A gold medal ? I had it for. Money ? I had had enough.
“What would have been the price on the physical plane ? I was in health.
“The decision was very easy to make, especially because of the age. “
Driver and trainer
Today, he describes himself as a chauffeur, a coach, a healer.
“I love it “, he says.
“I love even more to see my kids play that when I was playing myself. “
St-Louis believes that it is too early to know if his kids will follow in his footsteps. He knows a thing, however.
“They must have the passion,” he insists.
It is typical of him.
Four good centers
Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis have made the rain and beautiful weather in Florida.
The successes are not the work of a single person. St-Louis considers himself privileged to have had four good players of center in his career.
Levels minor and the university, he appointed his great friend Eric Perrin who, at 43 years old, dispute the last season of his career in Finland. The two have been thrilling the crowds at the University of Vermont.
In their first two seasons, they were the first two markers of their team in front of a certain Dominique Ducharme. Eh ! yes, the assistant coach of the Canadian, with that St-Louis has always kept in contact.
To Tampa, St-Louis got Brad Richards, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos as a player of centre.
“They were good players that I complemented each other well,” he said.
“I was lucky to have them. “
The three will surely say that they have been privileged to have Martin St-Louis as a companion trio.
TOP FIVE scorers OF THE NHL 2002-2003 to 2014-2015
| Joe Thornton
| Martin St-Louis
| * Alex Ovechkin
| Jarome Iginla
| * Sidney Crosby
♦ Stanley Cup, 2004
♦ Trophy-Art Ross (scoring title): 2003-2004 and 2012-2013
♦ Hart trophy (most valuable player to his team): 2003-2004
♦ Trophy Ted-Lindsay (outstanding player selected by the players Association): 2003-2004
♦ Trophy Lady-Byng (best sportsmanship and performance): 2009-2010, 2010-2011 and 2012-2013
♦ 1st all-star team: 2003-2004
♦ 2nd all-star team: 2006-2007, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, and 2012-2013
♦ Olympic gold medal: 2014
♦ Gold medal at the world Cup: 2004
♦ Silver medals at the world championships: 2008 and 2009