By Lindsay Kramer
Mar. 23, 2006
Norfolk Admirals rookie center Martin St. Pierre finally ventured out of his apartment recently and headed off toward uncharted waters. Specifically, the surf of Virginia Beach. Spring was making an early run, the ocean roars just a few minutes away from his apartment and St. Pierre just needed to feel a little sand between his toes.
So he took a lawn chair down to the beach, and, for the first time this season, planted himself there.
“It’s tempting to go to the beach all the time, have fun,” said St. Pierre, who in his first professional season with Greenville in 2004-05 was selected to the ECHL All-Star Game and ranked third among league rookies with 39 assists in 45 games. “But we’re here to play hockey.”
St. Pierre can be excused his occasional day at the beach. He’s had so few of them in his career. St. Pierre is one of the AHL’s biggest rookie surprises this season. He’s third among newcomers with 63 points (19-44) and ranks with the league’s best playmakers, period.
It’s a new level of productivity produced by tapping into the same old motivation. St. Pierre is one of those beyond-his-years skaters who understands that he’s best served by playing with a certain uneasiness. Which considering that he stands 5-foot-9 and was never drafted, is a sensation he long ago came to terms with.
“You can start doubting yourself. But that’s part of maturing really fast. You go twice as hard,” St. Pierre said. “You have to play with a chip on your shoulder. It still is frustrating. They’re giving smaller guys a chance. But you still have that old-style hockey kind of thing.”
The Chicago Blackhawks, to their credit, spotted the big picture in the little player. St. Pierre played last year in the Edmonton Oilers organization, including 18 games with the Edmonton Roadrunners of the AHL, scoring four goals and three assists.