I woke up this morning in something of a haze. I have a new puppy, I wake up really early with work and I often don't get enough sleep thanks to a combination of the first two things I just mentioned. Seriously, I go to bed at, like, 10-10:30 every night, Rangers games aside. Stanley (the puppy) has started sleeping through the night, which helps a lot, but I'm still trying to catch up on lost sleep.
So this morning I woke up and was exhausted. I checked my phone to see some messages in my group chat between Evan, Bryan, and myself and my heart sank. Martin St. Louis' mother passed away last night.
There are times -- and this is obviously one of them -- when hockey gets put on the back burner. Life is more important than hockey, even in the playoffs, even against a division rival and even if you're less than 24 hours away from a must-win game to save your season.
I want to tell you that the New York Rangers will rally around Martin St. Louis in this difficult time (not emotionally, which they obviously will and have) and win tonight. I want to tell you that the team will find their legs, they'll make hockey his distraction, he will come back home on Sunday to a standing ovation and score 12 goals. The Rangers will go on to win the Cup and he'll raise it in her name. It would be beautifully sad.
I want to tell you those things.
What I will tell you is this is a life-altering moment for St. Louis in all the wrong ways. It's so much more than hockey it's almost stupid we're even writing this. I don't expect him to play tonight. I do expect him to play on Sunday (if the Rangers are still alive), if nothing else because he's a fierce competitor and because he'll (incorrectly) assume he'll owe it to his teammates to be there. I expect him to be sad.
My guess is the locker room is pretty shaken. And that's to be expected. This is a tight-knit team. St. Louis has friends on this team that go much farther back than the trade deadline. This has to be tough. Hell, it was tough for me this morning and I don't even know him. Those guys are more of a family than a team. All professional sports team are. You spend so much time with them you really don't have a choice. So it's clearly tough on everyone.
So from everyone at Blueshirt Banter, I want to offer Martin St. Louis our deepest condolences. It's a terrible situation, and I wish the best for him and his family. Forget about hockey. Get your life in order. We'll be behind you when you're ready.
Even if it's not this year.