When the Rangers landed in Pittsburgh Thursday afternoon the team and one if its star players were met with the tragic news that France St. Louis, mother of Rangers winger Martin, had passed away earlier in the day. The team immediately arranged for St. Louis to join his father and family in Montreal Thursday night, with the star winger remaining in contact via phone and text with Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault.
After a long conversation with his father Friday morning, St. Louis informed Vigneault that he would return to Pittsburgh and will play in tonight's must-win Game Five against the Penguins.
"It was obviously a very, very quiet bus ride from the airport to the hotel," explained Vigneault. "I spoke with Marty last night and texted back and forth today and he decided to come back and play. I think that says a lot about him, but it also says a lot about his teammates that he'd want to be here and play tonight."
St. Louis is one of the most respected people in the National Hockey League, as three Lady Byng Trophies can partially attest, and earlier today members of the Pittsburgh Penguins seemed genuinely saddened by his loss. Certainly the passing of St. Louis' mother has had a major impact on Marty and his teammates, and will not be known until the game is played tonight what kind of an affect her death will have on St. Louis and the team.
"Him and his dad both agreed that his mom would want him to be here, and that's what he did," shared Vigneault. "We had a good talk last night, and at the end of the day my message to him was there are more important things than hockey and you have to do what is right, you have to take care of your dad; but they got up this morning, they talked, and they sorted it out, and he's here."
Trailing the Penguins three games to one, the Rangers need a victory tonight in order to continue their season and force a Game Six at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.