Martin St. Louis to play Mother’s Day without his mom
For the second time in three days Martin St. Louis of the New York Rangers will play a game after the death of his mother. The second game might be different than the first since Sunday’s game falls on Mother’s Day.
Martin’s 63 year old mother France died from a heart attack on Thursday as the New York Rangers were facing a win or go home Game Five against the Pittsburgh Penguins. St. Louis found out about his mother’s death shortly after his team arrived in Pittsburgh Thursday afternoon. He quickly boarded a flight to be with his family in Montreal.
The veteran player who is a weeks away from his 38th birthday described his mother as “the best person I’ve ever known in my life.” St. Louis said this about his time on the ice Friday, “I’m not going to say that I forgot about my situation. She was with me the whole way.”
The decision to play in Friday’s game came after spending Thursday with his father and the two men in mourning decided together that St. Louis should play. “I know deep down, my mom would want me to play this game. And she’d be proud of me coming here and helping as much as I can. I owed it to her to do it. I know she would want me to do it.” The Rangers won Friday night’s game 5-1 to force a Game Six on Mother’s Day in Madison Square Garden.
New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist explained the Rangers’ locker room Friday this way, “It’s just a game, but at the same time we live this game, so it means so much to us, but today you play for Marty and his family. That’s the feeling I had going into this.”
Martin St. Louis was a late season acquisition of the Rangers, arriving via trade in early March; but that did not seem to affect the support his New York teammates gave him. “For the short amount of time I’ve been here, the quality of people that we have in here is unbelievable. I didn’t want to be a distraction. I just wanted to pull out a gutsy win, and the boys played tremendous.”
In a classy move, Pittsburgh Penguins team captain Sidney Crosby found St. Louis on an exercise bike before Game Five. Crosby offered his condolences to his fellow Team Canada player just two and half months after they were both part of winning a Gold Medal in Sochi. The family of hockey knows there is always time to offer support to a friend who is hurting, even hours before you will try to go out and beat in a playoff game.