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St. Louis to lead as Taylor rehabs
Lightning's big scorer will be an alternate captain as the veteran recovers from surgery.
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published August 17, 2007
[Dirk Shadd | Times]
St. Louis will wear an A on his jersey next season and join Lecavalier and Richards as alternate captains.
Marty St. Louis said he is more volatile than teammates Vinny Lecavalier and Brad Richards.
Especially in the locker room between periods.
"I'm not as calm," the Lightning right wing said. "They think things through a little more. I'm a spark kind of guy. I'm spontaneous in the heat of battle."
It should make for a balanced leadership mix then, as St. Louis next season will wear an A on his jersey and join Lecavalier and Richards as alternate captains.
St. Louis' first NHL letter comes as captain Tim Taylor prepares for hip surgery that could sideline him all season.
General manager Jay Feaster said Taylor will remain captain as he rehabs with the team and St. Louis gets public recognition for a strong leadership role that has been behind the scenes.
"This is a natural extension of the leadership in the room already," Feaster said. "He's a veteran who has delivered in the clutch on a consistent basis. And certainly, when Marty St. Louis speaks, he has the respect of the other guys in the room."
"I'm flattered and honored to wear the A and join Vinny and Brad," St. Louis, 32, said Thursday by phone from his Connecticut home.
"But I don't think it's going to change anything in my leadership role."
Taylor's role certainly will change as he rehabs to save what he said is his final season.
The 12-year veteran hoped to avoid surgery but said the degenerative right hip that hampered him last season is worse. Taylor said he cannot run and cannot sleep without an anti-inflammatory drug to cut the pain.
The surgery, which Taylor said could happen in September, will smooth the top of the forward's right femur and fit it into a metal hip socket to ease movement.
Lightning trainer Tommy Mulligan said he knows of no professional hockey player who has returned from such a procedure. But Taylor, 38, said a best-case, four-month rehab, after three weeks in which he won't be able to walk without help, could have him in the lineup by February.
"You just have to take it one day at a time and not get too impatient, work your heart out and act like you're going to come back," Taylor said. "If I can't, it's going to be devastating, but I want to give myself the best chance of doing it."
St. Louis' chance comes after last season's career highs of 43 goals, 59 assists and 102 points.
"As you go through the process, you earn the right to be a voice," the league's 2003-04 regular-season MVP said. "You earn your leadership stripes kind of thing. The guys I'm joining are definitely guys who earned it."
In a calmer sort of way.
INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE: Assistant trainer Jason Serbus will join Team USA as trainer of the national under-17 team playing in the Five Nations tournament Monday through Aug. 24 in the Czech Republic.
TICKETS: Individual game tickets go on sale Aug. 25 at the St. Pete Times Forum box office in conjunction with the annual Ice Fest from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Lightning's new logo and jersey will be unveiled at noon. Players will be available for autographs, and Feaster and coach John Tortorella have scheduled a Q&A with season-ticket holders for 11 a.m.