Marty St. Louis says trade to the Rangers part of "tough and weird" day
So, there was Marty St. Louis on Wednesday sitting on the bench at Madison Square Garden in a Rangers jersey. Even he was struck by how "weird" that was.
After 13 seasons with the Lightning, St. Louis, the organization's greatest player, was traded on Wednesday for Ryan Callahan and a first- and a conditional second-round draft choice.
"You know, it was hard," St. Louis said. "Everything happened real quick, trying to rush for a flight (to New York), get ready for a game, new gear. It was definitely tough and weird."
He said the decision to ask for a trade to the Rangers also was tough. And while being left off the initial Olympic roster for Team Canada was difficult, it was just part of the equation that pushed him to request a trade.
"My family had a huge part in it," St. Louis said
St. Louis said he always thought that as his kids got older he would want to relocate to the Northeast. He has a home in Greenwich, Conn., and his wife is from that area.
"I always felt at some point as my kids got older I would try to come here," he said. "I think my success and the things that were happening in Tampa kept me there probably longer than I probably envisioned. Sometimes things, and they happen for a reason."
Not being on Canada's initial Olympic roster was one of those things.
"It had something to do with it," St. Louis said.
That said, St. Louis also said he is "grateful" to Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, who also was team Canada's executive director for helping him make the decision to go to the Sochi Olympics when he was named as a replacement for injured teammate Steven Stamkos.
"Steve really helped me put my emotions inside to go to Sochi when Stammer went down," St. Louis said. "I'm grateful he helped me put my emotions inside and I could go there."
St. Louis said his relationship with Yzerman is "cordial" and "professional."
Truth be told, St. Louis said leaving the Lightning is something he had mulled before.
"It crossed my mind when we had some bad years," he said, and specifically mentioned when former owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie on July 4, 2008, traded defenseman Dan Boyle. "But I'll be honest with you, Stammer comes along and it's a lot of fun playing with Stammer. There were things pulling me in, but every year the equation changes. There are moving parts and you assess. That's what i've been doing the last two months. What do I really want here? It wasn't a decision I took lightly, but I'm glad and very respectful how (owner Jeff Vinik) and Steve handled it."
As for the Lightning, St. Louis said, "Tampa is in good hands. They have a lot of good, young players. They have a great goaltender. I don't feel I'm leaving that team stranded. I really don't. I feel they're going to be good."
His message to the fans?
"They're great fans who supported me all along. I'm not expecting tem to be happy with my decision, but I hope over time they get to respect it."