Alec Martinez loves Sutter, even when he scratches him

Defenseman Alec Martinez (photo by: Dinur)

Second year defenseman Alec Martinez is not expected to be in the line-up tonight when the Kings take on the Flames in Calgary.

In fact, after coach Darryl Sutter took over, Martinez sat out the next six games in favor of Slava Voynov. Once the Russian rookie was injured, #27 was given a chance to play. In the next four game, Martinez posted zero points – but, appeared to be getting more involved in the offense, increasing his shot totals in each game.

He also took in stride when he was swapped with Voynov for the Kings last game, Thursday’s home contest vs. the Dallas Stars.

“It was a coach’s decision,” Martinez explained. “He told me he wanted to get a righty in there, for that righty-lefty combo. So, I’ve just been getting extra work in (after practice) and I’ll keep working hard so when my opportunity comes back, then I’ll be ready.”

The former University of Miami (Ohio) standout, also like his new coach’s approach to managing the team – “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. I think a lot of guys do.”

Given the Kings 6-1-4 record under Sutter, we’ve yet to see the bombastic yelling and screaming version of the coach we were led to believe the Kings had hired. And it’s a point not lost on the players, “You hear that about him from the media or whomever says that,” Martinez explained. “But, I think, so far he’s been great. It goes back to what I said before, he shoots it to you straight. That’s what most guys want. You don’t want a guy giving you b.s. So, I think he’s good and I know that if he starts yelling, we probably deserve it. That’s just the way it goes.”

Oh and one more thing, has he heard about his old roommate, Jeff Zatkoff, receiving several honors from the AHL recently? “For sure!” said Martinez. “I talk to him quite a bit. We played together growing up, we’re both from the same area. Then college and stuff like that. I’m really happy for him. He’s really worked hard. I’m glad he’s playing well and getting rewarded for it.”

So no hard feeling after he ran up the heating bill on you last year [story linked below]?

“There was a period or two where we didn’t talk (he laughs). No, I’m just kidding. Those guys tried to sneak that onto my credit card. But, luckily, I check my statements.”

Although he’ll never admit it, he may want to start checking over his shoulder too. If Voynov can get back to the player he was earlier in the season, Martinez could find himself being used as a trade chip prior to next month’s NHL Trade Deadline.

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John Hoven is a member of the of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and co-hosts Kings of the Podcast. He is also the founder and editor of MayorsManor.com, which has been named Best Sports Blog in Los Angeles by LA Weekly and Hockey Blog of the Year by Yahoo Sports. Click "ABOUT OUR TEAM" above for a full bio.