Here’s the unedited version of my story from lohud.com:
By Rick Carpiniello
GREENBURGH – With a heaping dose of perspective, and a 39-year-old body that, in physical testing, ranked among the top three on a team with players barely half his age, Martin St. Louis began his first preseason as a Ranger this week.
Last season, obviously, was a difficult one for the former MVP and two-time NHL scoring champ, not only for the tragic loss of his mother during the playoffs.
St. Louis dealt with the disappointment of originally being snubbed by his own GM, Tampa Bay’s Steve Yzerman, for the Canadian Olympic team. He requested and got the trade he wanted, to New York, near his home in Greenwich, in a blockbuster that sent Rangers captain Ryan Callahan to Tampa. And he had just one goal and seven assists (three of those in one game) in 19 regular-season games after the trade.
Plus, the night before his mother passed away, he played what he felt might have been the worst game of his career as the Rangers fell behind Pittsburgh three games to one. Yet St. Louis was, overall, a key contributor to the Rangers’ run to the Stanley Cup Final, and now he’s going to be an even more important player from Day 1.
“You know, we played hard, we just didn’t win,” St. Louis said Saturday. “Is it time to be, like, ‘poor us?’ No. You turn the page. You go to work. Nothing comes easily in life. We were close and didn’t win. So it’s time to realize we could have done better and then just go after it. No time to feel sorry for ourselves. Enjoy the game.
“Obviously what I’ve gone through personally in my life the last few months, I look at life a little differently. I try to enjoy every minute of it. I like the attitude of the guys. The guys are upbeat. But I don’t think there’s anybody here that feels sorry for ourselves. We’re hungry and what we want this time is a different result. We know we have to build it up.”
St. Louis somewhat admitted that he wasn’t himself after the trade, and that being here now feels different.
“It’s nice to start from scratch, part of the process and the progression,” he said. “I came here at time where they had figured things out, so you come in and you just try to fit in and you don’t want to disrupt anything. You find yourself a little bit on your heels instead of being on your toes. I think I turn out better when I’m on my toes. So I’m excited to get a start here from the get-go and be part of the progression as we move forward.”
St. Louis, whom coach Alain Vigneault said might have physically tested highest in on the team, would easily have been the Rangers’ scoring leader with his Tampa Bay numbers last season. He may or may not get a letter as one of the team’s captains, but that won’t matter. His goal is simple:
“To (play) the game that I can play and be a leader,” St. Louis said. “You don’t need a letter on y our jersey to be a leader. You don’t want to force leadership. It comes natural with experience and it’s something that I think is passed down. I was fortunate to play with some great leaders and you get a chance to be a leader. It’s a comfortable position to be in. I enjoy my teammates. So for me, letter or no letter, I’m going to be myself and I usually enjoy that part of the game, helping teammates and learning from teammates. Not just being a talker but a listener, too.”
You might think that turning 39 during a summer shortened by the deep playoff run would be tough. St. Louis saw it differently. Because he lives here in the off-season, he didn’t have to pack up and get back to work, as he normally does around Aug. 15.
“I would kind of lose five weeks of summer,” he said. “For me personally it almost felt longer than what I was used to because of my situation.”
Photos by Getty Images.