Marty St. Louis era draws to a sad ending

He was always one of the smallest players on the ice.

How then can the departure of Marty St. Louis leave such a large hole?

The Lightning not only traded away the best player in its history Wednesday, it also traded away a good chunk of its heart and a pound of its soul.

It traded away Marty Time, those precious moments when the game was ticking away and St. Louis would sweep in from the far reaches of the ice to save the day. It traded away grit and passion and fire. It traded away the best part of its history, and the closest link the team and the fans have ever had.

Most of all, it traded away much of its own identity.

And you wonder: Will the fans ever forgive St. Louis for forcing such a day?

Marty is a Ranger. This feels wrong. This feels awful. This feels like a betrayal by the player you trusted the most.

You can debate whether to blame St. Louis for asking for this trade or general manager Steve Yzerman for accommodating him. You can think the return is a little light for the time being or that the Lightning did the best it could with tied hands. At this point, it only matters that, from now on, St. Louis is going to be skating in another team’s colors. It is an image that is going to be difficult for a lot of people to absorb.

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