It happened during the New York Rangers' 5-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Martin St. Louis had just picked Alexei Emelin's pocked and scored a beautiful top-shelf goal that had me tweet the following:
Is it possible not to love St. Louis? I feel like I root harder for him than anyone else on the ice.— Joe Fortunato (@BlueshirtBanter) November 24, 2014
And that's when it happened. More than a few Tampa Bay fans mocking me -- many of which I didn't even know followed me -- and destroying St. Louis' character and balking at the idea that anyone could trust that traitorous heathen. I even got e-mails that essentially compared him to the devil. I guess I never realized just how much Lightning fans had warped to hate him.
To each his own, of course.
Tampa, very clearly, has not handled St. Louis' departure well at all. I've seen stories that dissected his comments in the playoffs to find negative parallels to Tampa Bay to stories about how St. Louis maybe isn't the player Tampa Bay thought he was when he, ya know, helped them win a Stanley Cup. I ignored most of them at the time, but after the e-mails and tweets this past week I wanted to see for myself. A few very nice (seriously, not sarcastic at all) Tampa fans from Raw Charge -- our awesome Lightning blog -- dropped by to tell us Tampa might not even honor St. Louis tonight in his return to Tampa.
Oh that would be fun.
Want to know why? Because the Rangers need two points more than they need the fans from Tampa Bay to salute one of New York's most important players. And, as we've seen time and time again, boy oh boy does St. Louis elevate his game to another level when he's got a chip on his shoulder.