The New York Rangers will face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins this Mother’s Day, but for one player in particular, today will have a special significance. Rangers forward Marty St. Louis arrived in Pittsburgh Thursday to devastating news. His 62-year-old mother had passed away suddenly in the night, turning his thoughts from Game Five in the series to simply getting back home. Almost immediately, St. Louis left his teammates and made his way to Montreal, where his father was already waiting. After mourning the death of their loved one, both St. Louis and his father agreed that his mother would have wanted him to be with his teammates during this trying time and on Mother’s Day.
The Rangers, perhaps inspired by the struggles that their teammate went through, dominated the Penguins on Friday night, winning 5-1 to bring their series deficit to only one game. St. Louis would not show up on the scoresheet, but played over 16 minutes in Game Five. He said after the game that he knew his father was proud, he knew his mom would proud and he was happy to get the win to stay alive.
“You don’t expect these things,” said St. Louis after the game. “It was a tough couple days for my family, but I know deep down my mother, my mom, would want me to play this game, she’d be proud of me for coming here to help as much as I can.”
Mother’s Day will bring a new challenge for the Rangers forward. Not only will his team face yet another elimination game, as New York attempts to force a Game Seven later tonight, but no doubt St. Louis’ thoughts will be on his own mother and how she affected his life. The crowd at Madison Square Garden will likely show their support for their team’s player in their own way, but two members in the crowd will also be on St. Louis’ mind. His father and his sister flew down from Montreal to catch tonight’s game, where they will celebrate the life of and mourn the death of a woman that was dear to all their hearts.
“Obviously, it’s Mother’s Day today. It is is a day that is special to me, obviously,” the 38-year-old St. Louis said after the team’s morning skate on Sunday. He added that having his father and sister at the game will help the grieving process.
His teammates have taken up the mantle for St. Louis, using his situation as a rallying cry to inspire them from game to game as they attempt to stave off elimination. Center Derik Brassard said that the team was “playing for [St. Louis]” and forward Brian Boyle said “in the short time he’s been here, he’s been pretty magnetic…you see his love for the game.”
It is that love of the game that will allow St. Louis to play at the highest level, despite the recent hardships that he has gone through. On this Mother’s Day, Marty St. Louis and all his Ranger teammates will think back to loved ones, past and present, and will use those thoughts to keep playing at this most trying time.