Alec Martinez – ‘I need to be better’

LA Kings Alec Martinez 2013 MayorsManorIt’s sort of difficult to pin down exactly what is going on with Alec Martinez – or if there’s even anything really to report.

Although coach Darryl Sutter has been critical of his play at times this season – even if he’s occasionally cloaked it in generalities about all the young defensemen needing to get better – the overall numbers don’t suggest any alarming trends.

Martinez opened the season as a minus-1 against Chicago. But, no other Kings defensemen was a plus-player that game, so it wasn’t all on him. He then had an even-rating over the next 10 games before going out injured for a few weeks. Further, there was only one game during that stretch where he was a minus for the game (January 31, a 2-1 shootout loss to Nashville).  So, defensively, he was holding his own.

He’s played six games since the injury, again posting an overall even-rating. However, he was a minus-1 on Monday vs. Calgary, where he was beat one-on-one and Sutter was frank about it after the game.

That earned him a night off on Tuesday in Phoenix.

His return to the line-up Thursday in San Jose drew another minus-1 performance.

“Obviously I’ve been better,” Martinez began when we sat down with him for a one-on-one earlier today. “I don’t really think there’s anything else to it, just the fact that I need to be better. Sometimes coming back from injury, when there’s not a whole lot of practice and a whole lot of games, i’s pretty easy to get out of the good habits and things like that – the little plays. That’s where I think I’ve struggled. I felt a little bit better last night. So, I just have to keep playing my game. I know it’ll come, and I just gotta make those little plays.”

The elephant in the room was injuries. Martinez suffered a horrific facial injury while playing in Finland during the lockout (something he described in gory detail here).

“No,” he said, right away, when asked if that was still in the back of his mind. “It’s my face, it’s protected. It’s just like any other guy that gets hit in their face. I don’t know. I don’t really think about it. It’s different than a body part that you actually use. So, it is what it is. I’ve been hit in the face before. Obviously not to that extent, but I’ve been hit. It’s a non-issue.”

What about the upper body injury then from February, does that maybe have him playing timid?

“No. I always believe in myself and my game. But, it’s just like anything, I’m trying to get better.  I can get frustrated. But, no I’m not timid.”

If it’s not the injuries, what’s holding him back then – if anything? What does he need to do to play more like he was at the end of last season?

“It’s just getting out there on the ice,” said the 25-year old defenseman. “Just like today – it was an optional day. But, I’m going to get out there because I missed two and a half weeks where I didn’t really play, or wasn’t in game-like situations or anything. So, it’s just a matter of getting back into it, like anything else.”

For comparison purposes, the ‘Martinez of last season’ we referred to had four goals over the final 17 games of the regular season and was a plus-4. He also took 23 shots on goal during that time.

This year, in 17 games played, Martinez has one goal, 18 shots and is a minus-1.

A few weeks after Sutter took over as coach last season Martinez offered this to MayorsManor – “He’s good on the bench. He shoots it to you straight. If you make a good play, he’ll tell you. If you don’t, he’ll tell you too. Personally, I like it that way.”

So, we’ll lay it out straight here then. Something is off.

Something.

It wasn’t that long ago when Martinez was one of the shinning stars among the Kings young defensemen.

Now, with all that praise being thrown at Slava Voynovsomething the young Russian has more than earned – we have to ask, what about Martinez?

Where did that guy go?

Is it a delayed sophomore slump or something else is going on?

It’s something.

At the very least, he seems to have lost his smile. And we’re not exactly sure why.

RELATED CONTENT: What will Sutter say? Full comments after today’s practice

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Comments

  1. Eva Marie Alonzo says:

    Geez, this article made me feel so sad. 🙁 …….. He just needs the Minutes, you can see slight improvements here and there – Numbers aren’t extreme – Sutter sees it. Not going to give up on Marty- He’ll be kicking Butt soon enough! As for losing his Smile-Give the guy a break-This season hasn’t been all smiles for anyone –just yet ……Repeat 🙂 🙂

  2. Haha can you have made this anymore depressing? I love you Marty!

  3. That’s sad that seems to have lost his smile. Martinez always seemed to be one of the more upbeat guys on the team.

    I think this team is seriously starting to feel the affects of not having Greener in the locker room (his presence on the ice has been missed since Game 2). I feel like the whole team has a bit of a half smile this season. They all seem to be a bit weary. Still super classy guys and patient with fans, but I think they lost some of their heart and soul.

    I hope Greener is able to come back soon. Maybe he can spark some life back into this team

  4. kimberly says:

    Such a sad read.

  5. Its sad, but marty is on the outs right now. He can’t give you what muzzin can.

  6. quote: “… It wasn’t that long ago when Martinez was one of the shinning stars among the Kings young defensemen. …”

    I think this is a over statement myself. I follow the King’s as closely as anyone and I never recall anyone putting Martinez in the “shinning star” catagory. Third defensemen pairing holding his own pretty much sums Martinez up for the most part.

    To me Martinez situation is obvious. Instead of playing with a veteran stay at home defensemen he is playing with irratic rookies. Of course he isn’t going to look like the same player.