St. Louis on Yzerman: ''Full confidence in what he's trying to do''
For all the negativity that surrounded the Lightning this season, right wing Marty St. Louis sounds relatively upbeat about what is in the team's future.
St. Louis, 38 in June, who became the oldest player to ever win an NHL points championship says he "feels good" about what Tampa Bay has in the locker room and that he has "full confidence" in what general manager Steve Yzerman is trying to do.
"I feel some of his pain," St. Louis said, "because he wants to win and it hasn't gone the way he'd like to the last couple of years."
St. Louis hit on some other topics recently. Here are excerpts of what he had to say:
On upcoming personnel changes: Do I like what we have in here? I do. Do I like the results that we got? No, I don’t. It’s one of those things that you’re talking about changes and stuff, it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s changes. Nothing is going to surprise me. Ultimately, Steve wants to win and that’s got to trickle down all the way down to the players. We're the ones who have to go play and make that happen. So, I feel good about what’s in here but I’m going to feel a lot better when I’m not talking to you guys this time of the year.
On Tampa Bay's influx of young players: Those guys, some guys have found jobs in the NHL this year and they’re pushing veteran players; guys are fighting for jobs, no doubt. They’ve had a good experience down there and they had a championship run last year (at AHL Norfolk). They’re going to get another one this year (at AHL Syracuse). This is a really good experience and it’s the best preparation for the next level. We have some good young talent coming up and that’s exciting.
On Yzerman: Steve Yzerman is a smart guy. He’s been in every situation. His experience, his knowledge, I have full confidence in what he’s trying to do. I feel some of his pain because he wants to win and it hasn’t gone the way he’d like to the last couple of years. It’s a tough act to follow after the first year we go to the conference final (in 2011) and we're one game away from the Stanley Cup final. I always feel when you set the bar like that it becomes a pretty big responsibility. There’s only four teams that get to that point out of 30 so it’s hard to get there. But we all want to get back there and the first guy in line who wants that is Steve Yzerman. I have full confidence in what he’s doing and what he wants to do.
On coach Jon Cooper: He’s getting the feel of guys’ personalities, what guys can and can’t do. Ultimately, I’m sure he has input about who he’s going to want here and do certain things. It gives him a chance to get a feel for what this league is. I think it’s going to be a valuable experience moving forward and preparing himself for next year and us understanding him as well. It won’t be as new so it might speed up the process for us.
On the draft: For sure, I think the players come in now so ready, especially the high-end guys, the top picks, a lot of those players are impact players pretty quick. In a salary cap world, you get that kind of return on investment and that’s what I want to see. The young guys in this day and age, especially the top picks, they find themselves bringing a lot.
On turning things around: I look at what we have and there’s no way we can’t turn it around regardless of where we pick. We’re good enough in here. We just have to make it happen. I think it just kind of slipped away from us this year and we just couldn’t grab it again. In such a short season we felt like we needed a home run all the time instead of going for singles. We didn’t have time on our side, I guess. I believe that it’s in here. If we get a good pick and the guy is ready to play and can help, awesome. But I don’t think that’s something we’re crossing our fingers over. We have a lot of good stuff in here and young guys who are ready to play, too. We’ll see where it takes us.