Friday, June 11, 2004

For St. Louis all the rest is gravy

Martin St. Louis has just completed what was probably the most spectacular week of his hockey career. St. Louis, who was one of the key reasons that Tampa became Stanley Cup Champions on Monday, collected all the major awards available to him at the NHL awards show Thursday night.

The nationally televised awards show that seems quintessentially Canadian harkens us back to those Minor hockey banquets of our youth. Mind you the trophies are a tad more up scale than those plaques of our early days, but probably the feeling of achievement is much the same.

For St. Louis the night was one to treasure, he was far and away the star of the show. Earlier in the day he was awarded the Lester B Pearson award as the NHL player of the year, the significance of that award is that it is chosen by the players of the NHL. When your peers hold you a notch above you realize how important the award is. St. Louis also collected the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player as selected by the Professional Hockey writers, he bested Calgary Flame Jarome Iginla for that honour.

The celebrations continued for St. Louis as he was awarded the Art Ross trophy as the leagues leading scorer and was also named to the NHL’s first All Star team, his first appearance on that roster.

Appearing in supporting roles on this St. Louis celebration were; Scott Niedermayer who collected his first Norris trophy as best defenseman, Andrew Raycroft with the Calder trophy for rookie of the year, Kris Draper took the Selke and Martin Brodeur won another Vezina trophy for his work in the Devil’s net. Jarome Iginla received the King Clancy trophy for his leadership and community work in Calgary. Lightning team mate Brad Richards was given the Lady Byng trophy for his sportsmanship in the game, while Tampa head coach John Tortorella pick up the Jack Adams trophy as coach of the year, completing the Lightning domination of the season ending awards show.

But by far it was St. Louis’ night, a perfect cap to a remarkable season for him and his Lightning team mates. By the end of the night he resembled that player at the minor hockey banquets, loaded down with trophies and a huge smile on his face. With worries about the next season yet to come, Thursday was all about hockey, a chance to reach back to the early days when the game was just a game, the banquet the final event. Reality will come soon enough, Thursday night they were all kids again celebrating the game they give their all to.

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