St. Louis reaches Hall of Fame on first try

by Gary Shelton on June 27, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

St. Louis says he grew up with Lightning.

St. Louis says he grew up with Lightning.

Tuesday, 3 a.m.

Above all else, he mattered.

If the Lightning needed to tie their series with Calgary in the Stanley Cup Finals, Marty St. Louis mattered. If the Lightning needed a big goal to get past Washington, St. Louis mattered.

In those minutes, when the air is thin and the sticks are gripped tighter, there was no place else you wanted the puck than on St. Louis' stick.  There was no player more clutch than St. Louis, no player who cast a longer shadow. His attitude filled the jerseys of his teammates, and when he was on his game, he was the biggest of them, and the best, and the boldest.

He was Marty St. Louis, Hall of Famer.

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St. Louis and his three sons drop the puck for the Bolts./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

St. Louis and his three sons drop the puck for the Bolts./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

St. Louis entered the Hall Tuesday, quicker than anyone had a right to believe. Again, that's the impact that St. Louis had on the game. There have been a lot of players who have shined despite not being giants, but St. Louis was the best of them. The chip on his shoulder was the side of a mountain, and it fueled him to be a great player, and by the time he was finished, he was a giant.

"It's an honor," St. Louis said Tuesday . "For me to join the great players who are in now is unbelievable. I'm very thankful to the committee to value my impact on the game so much to make me a first-ballot inductee. It's an honor for me and my family."

St. Louis becomes the second player (with Dave Andreychuk) from the Bolts' 2004 Stanley Cup champion to reach the Hall of Fame. Coincidentally, the Bucs have two players (Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp) from their 2002 Super Bowl champions

St. Louis is  second all-time on the Bolts for goals (365), games played (972) and points per game (0.98). His six NHL All-Star Game appearances are the most in Lightning history, as are the five times he was named to the NHL Postseason All-Star Team.

He owns the Lightning all-time record for points (953), assists (588), game-winning goals (64), shorthanded goals (28), overtime scoring (21 points) and power-play points (300).

He won the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP as voted by the PHWA) and the Lester B. Pearson Award (NHL MVP as voted by the Players' Association, now known as the Ted Lindsay Award) in 2003-04. He owns two Art Ross Trophies, given to the NHL point leader at the end of the regular season, and three Lady Byng Memorial Trophies, presented to the player exhibiting the best sportsmanship while playing at a high standard. He owns a Gold Medal as a member of Canada's 2014 Olympic championship team.

And he scored arguably the most important goal in Tampa Bay Lightning history. 33 seconds into double overtime of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Calgary, St. Louis pounced on a rebound off Tim Taylor's shot from the point and lifted the puck over the right shoulder of Flames' goalie Miikka Kiprusoff to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 victory and send the series back to Tampa tied 3-all.

"I knew it was possible," St. Louis said. "It was hard, but it was possible. I really fed off that. People tried to discourage me along the way. But that's just life…I definitely used that as a motivation to try to prove people wrong."

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