Earlier in the day, we had a chance to catch up with Martinez to discuss the situation, his former love for the Red Wings and he shared a little info about one of his teammates.
“I’m making really good progress,” Martinez said of the injury, mirroring what Lombardi would say a few hours later. “This is all going according to plan. Me and the training staff and the coaches know. I saw something on twitter like ‘Why isn’t he back?’ Well I wasn’t expected to be so…”
Perhaps part of that started because the original diagnosis sounded more like he’d be out about a week and could possibly return as soon as he was eligible to come off of IR. Maybe it was even fueled by coach Sutter saying if it was the playoffs he could have played through it.
“Well I think you could say that about a lot of things. Obviously it’s not the playoffs. But we’ve got a lot of time ahead of us. We have nineteen games in March. But, yes, I’ve played with it before.”
As for what’s next, it was a little bit of what you’d expect.
“I’m getting better every day,” he said with one of his typical big smiles that the ladies love so much. “It could be anywhere from tomorrow to six weeks from now. I’m kidding. I think Bernie Nicholls told me I’d be ready for the weekend. I just don’t know what weekend it is yet…But, I’m making progress. Everything is going according to plan. So I’ll be back soon.”
During the playoffs last season, Martinez had shared some personal stories about growing up a Red Wings fan. So, does missing tonight’s game sting a little more than the past few?
“I’m not a Red Wings fan anymore!” he said with authority. “I used to be when I was younger, but not anymore.”
Fine, but does it mean anything to miss tonight’s game, compared to say a Columbus Blue Jackets game?
“I think it hurts every game that I don’t play,” the 25-year old defenseman shared. “I obviously want to be out there and I want to help the team win. But, I guess is it cool playing against the team you grew up watching. I mean it’s pretty neat. But, on the same token, you’re an LA King, you’re preparing for your opponent. So I guess I’m kind of past that stage where, you know, you’re a young guy. I think the third or fourth game I played in the NHL was against Detroit. It hurts missing any game, but it’s really no different than it was missing the game against Anaheim.”
While he’s been sidelined two other young defensemen have been getting extra attention, Slava Voynov and Jake Muzzin. How has the communication been between everybody?
“We talk as a D-core a lot. I think in a lot of ways I’m still right there with them. You know I wouldn’t really consider myself an older guy on the team. Obviously Slava and I have been pros the same amount of time. We were rookies, coming in and playing together and stuff like that. So I’d say we’re somewhat in the same position.”
He’s also been in constant communication with another injured player, Matt Greene.
“I’ve actually hung out with him a lot lately,” said Martinez. “Because he and I have both been hurt, and the guys have been on the road, we came in here every day. We were working out and rehabbing and stuff like that. So he has actually made my life easier, believe it or not. Everyone knows the kind of personality he has. So he’s a good guy to have around. He tries to keep things light, knows when to joke around, and things like that. So he has actually helped me a lot.”
And part of that also comes from both of them being Michigan natives.
“We have common experiences growing up and know the same general areas, some of the same people. So that helps. And I’ve pretty much been paired up with him ever since I’ve been here. That builds a little camaraderie, we like to hang out with each other outside of the rink. He’s a really good guy, so he’s been good to have around going through this, and obviously his leadership is pretty solid too.”
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