Inspirational St. Louis ready for stiff Cup challenge
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Martin St. Louis has been a goal-scoring inspiration for the New York Rangers since he joined them three months ago but he knows as well as anyone how tough a challenge they face heading into the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Rangers will meet the Los Angeles Kings in a best-of-seven series starting on Wednesday, and their opponents are widely regarded as favorites after ousting the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals.
It has been a decade since St. Louis won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and he is well aware of the difficult and unpredictable road stretching ahead of any team bidding for hockey's Holy Grail.
"It's so hard to get it (the Stanley Cup) and as you move along in your career, you realize even more how hard it is to get to this point," St. Louis, 38, told reporters on Tuesday during media day at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
"I was fortunate to win one before but since then I have realized how hard it is just to get back here.
"So I am really enjoying this ride right now," said the dynamic Canadian right wing, who was acquired by the Rangers from Tampa Bay on March 5 in exchange for captain Ryan Callahan and two draft picks.
A six-time All-Star, St. Louis has been on an emotional roller-coaster of a ride over the past few weeks with his mother, France, having suddenly passed away during the Eastern Conference semi-finals against favorites Pittsburgh.
St. Louis flew home to be with his family but then re-joined the Rangers for a crucial Game Five in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins, leading the best-of-seven series 3-1, needed a win to advance. Continued...