Monday, February 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Does the Lightning's retirement of Marty St. Louis' number mean all is forgiven?

TAMPA — The Lightning's announcement that it will retire Marty St. Louis' No. 26 during a ceremony during a Jan. 13 game against Columbus stirred emotions among fans who resented how St. Louis left Tampa Bay.

The Times' Lightning coverage team of columnist Tom Jones, beat writer Joe Smith and columnist Martin Fennelly weigh in:

Does the retirement of Marty St. Louis' number mean all is forgiven? Should it?

Tom Jones: I've said from Day 1 that fans needed to get over feeling betrayed by St. Louis. No one could ever question St. Louis' dedication every single time he took the ice.

While full and exact details for St. Louis' trade request remain somewhat murky, I do believe St. Louis gave it his all while with Tampa Bay and I do believe his being initially left off the Canadian Olympic by Steve Yzerman was a valid reason to feel hurt.

The trade, which brought Tampa Bay Ryan Callahan and a first-round pick, turned out to be a good deal for the Lightning, so I'm not sure why fans felt sabotaged.

Ultimately, St. Louis has expressed his love for Tampa Bay and the Lightning organization. If you haven't forgiven him by now then you're holding on to unnecessary bitterness. Time to move on and embrace the greatest player in franchise history.

RELATED: Lightning to retire Marty St. Louis' No. 26

Joe Smith: From an organizational standpoint, yes, it seems all is forgiven. You can sense that from the fact owner Jeff Vinik and, he said, GM Steve Yzerman, were in full support of this move. Some fans may never get over the messy ending. Even St. Louis understands that.

But, as in most things in life, time heals. And St. Louis' jersey retirement, its resulting celebration, should be one way for the relationship between him and the fans to continue to mend. Eventually, St. Louis will be forgiven, and remembered for how much he brought the franchise, including the 2004 Stanley Cup.

Fennelly: As much as can be forgiven is forgiven —- and should be. I'm not saying lightning GM Steve Yzerman will be dabbing at his tears that night — but this is what respectful, professional organizations do. You rise above. You realize what matters.

History.

Did Marty in effect quit in mid-captaincy? Did he do it partly because of Olympic snubs ? ( By the way, he won gold in Sochi after being added to team Canada). I never totally got his decision.

He also was the mighty mite who led the Lightning to a Stanley Cup — period.

You respect the history.

RELATED: What they're saying about the Lightning's decision to retire Marty St. Louis' number.

Why didn't the Lightning retire Vinny Lecavalier's No. 4 first?

Smith: Lecavalier may have arrived first, the Lightning's No. 1 pick in 1998. And he's certainly one of the pillars, former faces, of the franchise. But St. Louis was arguably Tampa Bay's best player ever, it's all-time leading scorer, a borderline Hall of Famer.

St. Louis was also the first to retire, after the 2014-15 season. Lecavalier just retired after last season. Lecavalier will have his night, and No. 4 jersey retired, at some point. It was just St. Louis' turn.

PHOTO GALLERY: Marty St. Louis calls it a career after 16 seasons

Fennelly: I'd retire Vinny this year, too.

But if you were to carve you a Mount Rushmore for Tampa Sports history, Marty belongs on it — more than any Lightning player. Fans can be ambivalent to a point. But history is history. And Marty and his Hall of Fame motor made The lightning matter.

Marty goes first. I am down with that

Jones: No one could have argued that Vinny's No. 4 should have been retired first and it eventually will be retired. Lecavalier was the first real face of the Lightning franchise and remains, most likely, the most popular player among Lightning fans. It appears that the Lightning is retiring Marty's number first because he retired a year before Lecavalier.

Honestly, St. Louis was an overall better player and deserved to have his number retired first. But, you watch, Lecavalier will deservedly have his No. 4 retired next season.

Comments
Better ‘D’ starts at home with Lightning

Better ‘D’ starts at home with Lightning

TAMPA – The Lightning still might land that top tier defenseman it certainly needs by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. But if that player was wearing a Tampa Bay sweater Saturday, would the outcome against the Devils have been any different?The Ligh...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rumor mill: What Lightning might do at trade deadline

Rumor mill: What Lightning might do at trade deadline

Reports and rumors involving the Lightning leading up to the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 26:Feb. 17A smaller move could pay big dividendsIf you look at the history of recent Stanley Cup champions, their pivotal moves were subtle, not splashy, the Time...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Devils’ Wood gets 2 games for boarding Namestnikov

Devils’ Wood gets 2 games for boarding Namestnikov

Devils forward Miles Wood was suspended two games without pay for his boarding penalty Saturday night against Lightning forward Vladislav Namestnikov during the second period of the Devils 4-3 victory.The hit knocked Namestnikov into the boards ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Flashy trades not always the smartest moves

Flashy trades not always the smartest moves

TAMPA — When it comes to the trade deadline, everyone wants the big names. They dream of blockbusters.Lightning fans would love Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson or Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Maybe even Rangers wing Rick Nash.But if you ...
Published: 02/17/18
Updated: 02/18/18
Dotchin working on ‘inconsistencies’

Dotchin working on ‘inconsistencies’

TAMPA — Lightning D Jake Dotchin was scratched Saturday against the Devils, making it the fifth time in six games that he did not play."Obviously the playing time is down a bit," Dotchin said after the morning skate. "I just got to keep working...
Published: 02/17/18
Updated: 02/18/18
Winter Olympics: Americans had brawn. Russians had more goals.

Winter Olympics: Americans had brawn. Russians had more goals.

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — It was a game for Cold War nostalgia and present-day geopolitical angst, for feisty, post-whistle scraps in the corners and for cheap jokes on Twitter. It was a game drenched in history at the start and simmering with ill fee...
Published: 02/17/18
Updated: 02/18/18
Emphasis on ‘D’ continues as Lightning face Devils

Emphasis on ‘D’ continues as Lightning face Devils

The emphasis was on defense during Friday's practice and today's morning skate as the Lightning look to reduce not only the number of shots on goal allowed but also scoring chances. It allowed 39 in Thursday's win against the Red Wings and 33 in Thu...
Published: 02/17/18
Lightning falls to Devils

Lightning falls to Devils

TAMPA — The Lightning took enough shots to win Saturday’s game against the Devils. It scored enough goals to win, too. Problem was, the Lightning made enough mistakes to lose."There were a lot of positives," captain Steven Stamkos said, "but they sco...
Published: 02/17/18
Updated: 02/18/18
Winter Olympics: Youth leads U.S. men’s hockey team against Russia on Saturday

Winter Olympics: Youth leads U.S. men’s hockey team against Russia on Saturday

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk were dominating the NHL before Ryan Donato, Troy Terry and Jordan Greenway started playing organized hockey. "I think I dreamed about playing against those guys one day," Donato, 21, said. Dre...
Published: 02/16/18
Updated: 02/17/18
Fans can play games with the Lightning at Bolts Family Carnival

Fans can play games with the Lightning at Bolts Family Carnival

Fans will have a chance to interact with Lightning players, coaches, staff and alumni and challenge them to games at the Bolts Family Carnival Feb. 18 from 1-4 p.m. at Amalie Arena.Games include derby race, wacky water race, high strik...
Published: 02/16/18