Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning Nuts & Bolts: Marty St. Louis talks Stamkos, Lightning playoff chances

Marty returns

Former Lightning captain Marty St. Louis returned to Tampa last week as an ambassador for the Frozen Four. Though the now-retired wing had a bitter, awkward ending with the Lightning, forcing a trade to the Rangers two years ago, St. Louis said he has kept in touch with some former teammates, including Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Ben Bishop and Matt Carle, and the training staff.

"I stay well-connected with the Lightning," he said. "I usually catch third periods (of games) because I have (youth hockey) practices to run."

St. Louis sat in a suite next to Lightning owner Jeff Vinik for Thursday's Frozen Four semifinals. It'll be interesting to see how the potential Hall of Famer's relationship with the organization — and its fans — is repaired in the coming years.

St. Louis offered his thoughts on issues facing the Lightning.

On Stamkos dealing with a blood clot as the playoffs begin: "It's a tough time. Sometimes life throws you stuff. … You never know what the next day brings. A situation like that makes you appreciate the good days … I feel terrible for (Stamkos), but if anybody can handle it, I know he can. I keep him in my thoughts all the time."

• On whether Stamkos, who can be a free agent July 1, could have played his last game with the Lightning: "He's the face of the franchise, in a contract year. It's going to be talked about. … (Stamkos had) been focused on playing some good hockey and was playing great. … He's at a place in his career where he's going to make a decision. … I don't think anybody close to 'Stammer' is worried about where he's going to be next year. Everybody wants him to be healthy."

• On whether he'd count the Lightning out in the playoffs because of their injuries: "Any team that goes in the playoffs, you can't count them out. (Bishop) is an outstanding goaltender, and every team starts there. I don't know when (defenseman Anton Stralman, broken leg) gets back. You're losing a big piece in Stammer right now. … If you want to make excuses, you're going to be out quick. I don't see this team, this staff, everybody in this organization as people that make excuses. They go to work and try to answer and keep moving on. Do I count them out? Absolutely not."

• On how he wants his career remembered: "I came in my own way. I scratched, clawed, found a way to come in this league and stick, and I went out on my own terms. I am proud of the way I was able to be a top player in this league and stay a top player for a long time. It's hard to do. Helped being healthy. You have a couple of seasons with injuries, it's hard to come back from that and sustain that. For me to be healthy and get to 1,000 games (played)? I was trying to get one in this league. It's special."

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.

Comments
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

GLENDALE, Ariz — Nikita Kucherov’s toughest challenge isn’t facing Canadiens goalie Carey Price, or Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky.It comes in practice against Andrei Vasilevskiy. "I’ve been saying, I thought he was going to be the top goalie in the leag...
Published: 12/13/17
Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

ST. LOUIS — Tyler Johnson hasn’t played very much wing in his career, primarily sticking to his natural center position. But lately, Johnson has been stellar on the right side.Johnson’s assist in Tuesday’s win over the Blues extended his point streak...
Published: 12/13/17
Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

ST. LOUIS — This showdown was supposed to be about the best team in the East versus the best in the West. In reality, the Lightning’s 3-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday night pretty much came down to this:Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies ...
Published: 12/12/17

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Blues

Andrei Vasilevskiy might have made the save of the year. With the Lightning leading by one midway through the second, an Alex Steen dump-in took a wild carom off the boards. Vasilevskiiy somehow sprawled out for a right-toe save. Then, on his back, V...
Published: 12/12/17
Lightning face Blues in showdown between NHL’s top two teams

Lightning face Blues in showdown between NHL’s top two teams

The Lightning's west coast trip will start with a bang tonight in St. Louis.Tonight's game will pit the top two teams in the NHL, with Tampa Bay (21-6-2) atop the Eastern Conference, the Blues (21-8-2) the No. 1 team in the West.Fittingly, an NBCSN-a...
Published: 12/12/17
How Lightning coach Jon Cooper reinvented himself

How Lightning coach Jon Cooper reinvented himself

BRANDON — The best team in town had just wrapped up practice. The Lightning had a plane to catch, to St. Louis, where Tuesday in St. Louis begins a four-city road trip that ends at expansion Las Vegas, exclusive engagement, one show a night, unless y...
Published: 12/11/17
All boxes checked on Lightning home stand sweep; now, back to the road

All boxes checked on Lightning home stand sweep; now, back to the road

TAMPA — You don’t often see a coach making shadow puppets on the wall with his hands at the start of his postgame news conference, but that’s where the Lightning is these days after sweeping a four-game home stand with Saturday night’s 4-3 overtime v...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated game story: Lightning’s Brayden Point credits luck, opportunity for OT winner vs. Jets

Updated game story: Lightning’s Brayden Point credits luck, opportunity for OT winner vs. Jets

TAMPA — His coach says he plays every game as if he doesn’t play his best, he’s going to be sent down. That is not the case with Brayden Point, but who doesn’t want that kind of effort from a second-year player who has more than established himself i...
Published: 12/09/17

Brayden Point scores in OT to give Lightning win over Jets

TAMPA — The Jets saw Saturday’s game against the Lightning as a benchmark game, a way to measure themselves against the NHL’s top team. The Lightning had circled the game, the last of a four-game home stand."It’s going to be a big test for us," Light...
Published: 12/09/17
Lightning journal: Power-play players make me look good, Jon Cooper says

Lightning journal: Power-play players make me look good, Jon Cooper says

TAMPA — How about that Lightning power play."Coaching," coach Jon Cooper said before Saturday’s game with the Jets.He was kidding."You always look like a good coach when you can throw (Nikita) Kucherov and (Steven) Stamkos and (Victor) Hedman over th...
Published: 12/09/17