To call Martin St. Louis' past week an emotional roller-coaster would be a gross understatement.
The New York Rangers forward's mother, France, died unexpectedly the day before Game 5 of New York's playoff series with the Penguins and, afterwards, the unified team came to life by winning the final three games in an improbable push to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Rangers did everything in their power to accommodate the grieving St. Louis but on Thursday, the NHL would not make changes to accommodate his funeral plans during the upcoming series against the Montreal Canadiens.
According to coach Alain Vigneault, the Rangers asked the league to move the time of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals in Montreal back from its proposed 1 p.m. start to allow St. Louis to have the funeral for his mother in the afternoon. The request was denied, presumably because the time slot for the game on NBC was locked in. The network will begin its coverage of The Preakness Stakes at 4:30 p.m.
So instead, St. Louis moved the funeral to Sunday, and the whole team plans to attend. The services will be in St. Louis’ hometown of Laval, Quebec, is just outside Montreal.
“The funeral was supposed to be Saturday,” Vigneault said after the Rangers had an optional practice Thursday at their Westdchester training center. “We couldn’t move the time of the game, so Marty being who he is was able to move the funeral to Sunday.
“So, Sunday, as a team, we’ll be able to attend his mother’s funeral, and hopefully we’ll play a good game Saturday and get ready for the next one after.”
The 38-year-old winger flew back to Montreal after his mom's death, but returned in time for the following night’s Game 5. That kicked off the Rangers' three-game win streak to beat the Penguins in the best-of-seven series.