NHL Divorce: The Tampa Bay Lightning part ways with Martin St. Louis

It is reported that over 50% of marriages in the United states end in divorce. Some because of abuse or abandonment, while many others end due to infidelity. But there are some individuals that walk away from their union because of what they would call irreconcilable differences, which for many is just a fancy way of saying “I just don’t like you anymore.”

Today there was a divorce in Tampa involving one of the most revered athletes in the city Martin St. Louis and some say that it happened because he didn’t like the Lightning anymore.

The 13 year relationship between he and the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise ended today when St. Louis was traded to the New York Rangers for Ryan Callahan, a 2015 1st round draft pick and a conditional 2nd round pick in 2014. The once happy relationship escalated to the point of no return in a matter of weeks shortly after St. Louis was left off of Team Canada’s roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia. While he was later added as an injury replacement, the damage was already done to the fragile psyche of the 38-year-old veteran and he began to question his future in Tampa because he felt team General Manager Steve Yzerman played a role in him being left off the team initially.

With any relationship, it’s necessary to find value in it and the erosion that leads to a break-up usually starts because one person questions the loyalty of the other.

Did Yzerman not want St. Louis on Team Canada Roster?

According to Don Cherry, a respected voice in the NHL, it was not Yzerman, but the selection committee that decided not to make St. Louis one of the 14 forwards on the roster. Yzerman was put in a compromising position by being forced to be the bearer of the bad news to his own player and his franchise is now paying for it.

If Yzerman was not at fault, why did St. Louis blame him?

Playing for your country’s national team is a great honor, so being told that you will not be happening could be a major blow to an athletes ego. Maybe St. Louis found it easier to blame the person who told him the bad news rather than the people who actually made the decision. And even after being added to the roster, it had to hurt knowing that he was not the selection committees first choice.

Escape clause

Sometimes in romantic relationships, one person is looking for any excuse to exit and will find the pettiest reason to leave. While it was the Lightning franchise that made the trade, it was St. Louis who had the most important bargaining chip — his no trade clause. The New York Rangers was the only team that the six-time NHL All-Star would agree to waive that clause for, so it was he, not the team that held all the power.

In addition to being reunited with former teammate Brian Richards, the trade to the northeast allows for St. Louis and his family to be closer to his wife’s relatives who reside in Greenwich CT.

Who really suffers

 Often times there are innocent victims in marital separations — children, friends or even animals. In this case its the Tampa Bay fans who end up feeling conflicted about whose side to take. Those siding with the Lightning will feel that St. Louis acted very immature and could have handled the Team Canada snub more professionally. But the St. Louis fans dislike the fact that the Lightning, and specifically Yzerman, did not do enough to show how much a player, who had done so much for the franchise, meant to them.

 Once the hurt, pain, and frustration subsides both parties should be able to focus on their future apart. The Lightning will no longer have a distraction in the locker room, they obtained a player they can build around in Callahan, and they can get back to their winning ways — the team is 3-7 in its last 10 games. St. Louis gets a fresh start in the Big Apple and can use his veteran leadership to help the Rangers improve their current standings as he looks to reach the Stanley Cup again.

It looks like it will end well for everyone… that is until that first visit and the awkward emotions resurface. Fortunately, that won’t be until 2015 — unless they meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which could make for interesting drama.

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