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After 18-game absence, Martin returns to Pens lineup tonight

Apr 3, 2014, 1:36 PM EDT

paulmartinap AP

Paul Martin will look to get his season on track Thursday against Winnipeg, returning to the Pittsburgh lineup for the first time since breaking his hand at the Olympics.

Martin, who missed 23 games earlier this season with a fractured tibia, will play for the first time in 18 games and provide a key veteran presence on the Pens’ back end. He’ll also provide a fresh look on the power play — Martin manned the point on the first unit at today’s morning skate; despite appearing in just 33 games this year, he still sits second among all Pens d-men in power play assists (with six).

More importantly, the return gives Martin a chance to knock off some rust prior to the start of the playoffs. He figures to be a key contributor for the Pens this spring, given he averages over 24 minutes per night and could be relied upon even more given the uncertainty surrounding Kris Letang’s return from a stroke.

 

  1. JoeAvg - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Can’t help but think of all the people over the last few years crying that they should move both him and Letang. Well they’ve been without them for several weeks now – what do you think? Better off dea..I mean without ‘em?

    • hockey412 - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      I don’t know that I’m giving Martin much props on that one. We did just fine without him for much of the year. I do, however, take back a lot of the things I’ve commented on regarding Letang and his ability to skate the puck up ice. I wish he’d be a bit more like OEL in Pheonix and not skate it quite as deep as he does.

      The Pens do seem to miss him on the PP…but I can’t figure out why.

      It’s possible that I have no idea what I’m talking about.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:13 PM

        its because letang has a wicked right handed shot. not trying to knock niskanen too much…but, his shot and mobility (nicely put) isnt on the same level as letang. they can move letang down below the circle on the pp where niskanen is really like a fish out of water. plus he has the ability to enter the zone on his own with the puck, if you watch niskanen he wont even attempt it on the pp. entries and then the set-up and movement of letang is nice but they still had the #1 pp without him basically all season and niskanen’s numbers show the importance that rh shot has on the pp. he wouldnt get those minutes or points this season otherwise. i am looking forward to seeing letang on 5 on 5 situations again help get the puck up and out quicker, thats where i think they need him more. martin coming back will probably help solidify the point on the powerplay but you can bet niskanen is still out there because of his rh shot – its hard to come by on this roster.

      • hockey412 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        That’s true too – and another reason they miss Letang – but that one line about the power play was supposed to be about Martin – they seem to miss him too on the PP.

      • gsr1191 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        Martin is our Best D man on the PP. Why? because he can skate the puck in, has a nice shot (keeps it low for deflections), understands the movement of the PP and where guys are going to be, great with the puck and most importantly (which i feel differentiates him over letang on the pp) is he is calm at the point. never panics even with someone bearing down on him. he just calmly moves the puck to someone else.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        yes martin is a calming force out there but i still contend letang is needed more on the powerplay because of the upgrade he is compared to niskanen. niskanen misses the net a lot. he missed a wide open net the other night from about 10 feet away too. the alternative right now to niskanen being out there means you have all lefties and the goalie can pretty much disregard any possibility of a one timer from the left side and just basically lock down and cheat to the right where the likes of crosby and neal will be bringing it from. letang makes opposing teams respect the left side, opening up everything. martin isnt going to be a triggerman from the right, thats neal or crosby right now and used to be malkin. martin’s going to be counted on to hold the puck in, make a pass or two d to d and then down to the half wall to crosby or neal if crosby is down on the goal line.

    • bmscalise - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      Amen. The Pens do have depth issues on the 3rd and 4th line, but Letang and Martin’s absence is the more important reason for the team’s puck possession issues. Not enough d-men who can actually make a clean pass. I couldn’t even count high enough to count all the times last game when passes were behind the forwards coming out of the zone.

      Getting PM back is huge. IF the team gets healthy (i.e. Letang actually does play soon, and Geno and Goc return as promised by their timeline) – then the really apparent issues the Pens have will be, not gone, but substantially mitigated. We’ll genuinely be watching a different team – not likely a Cup team, but a team that could give anyone a run for their money. If it doesn’t get healthy by the mid-first round… well, that’s a different case.

    • c9castine - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      please know i do not and never have associated with those people.

  2. Tyler - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Martins return couldn’t come at a better time. Orpik – Martin paring was great when they played together. It’ll take some pressure off Niskanen, Maatta, and on down the line. Welcome back, Paul!

  3. pitpenguinsrulez - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    I’ll gladly take having him back.

  4. sjsharks66 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    hockey412 your post reminds me how I felt about Dan Boyle the past couple years. He is a great quarterback on the PP. He also used to skate the puck too far into the other teams zone. I don’t mind when he enters the zone and goes about halfway in. Gives him enough time to get back to the point in case the other team recovers the puck.

    Letang and Boyle seem to get stuck behind the net and have to hustle to catch up when the other team starts moving down the ice. Pretty frustrating to watch.

    • c9castine - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      im sure it has happened but i dont ever recall seeing letang stuck behind the oppositions net or near it.

      ive seen him track people down and take the puck away after james neal fires one 3 feet wide and high and breaks the puck out for the other team though.

  5. Kristenaux - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    Agree with you gsr1191 — Martin seems to be a player that many don’t recognize for what he does do. They only see what he doesn’t & that is clone Orpik. When I was playing hockey as a kid they always told us that the best d-men were those that went unnoticed while doing their jobs.
    As for Tangers, there’s not too many who can out skate him, forwards or backwards. That & his shot are a major value to the team.

    • gsr1191 - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      completely agree kristenaux.

  6. c9castine - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    with all the talk about the powerplay and letang and niskanen and martin, GSR nailed it…

    martin has exceptional puck skills like letang but not near the shot. niskanen has the slapper, but not too much else.

    above all, martin is CALM…and it makes the powerplay run very efficiently.

  7. toiletclown - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    Thank god, now the best franchise in all sports can continue its domination

    • bsfan77 - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:38 PM

      Best franchise in all sports? Another profound comment from a mouth that smells like a toilet. You must not watch many sports if you are calling the Pens the best team in all of sports. Not even the best of the NHL, let alone all sports. I feel bad for Pitt fans having you make stupid comments on behalf of there team.

      • bsfan77 - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:39 PM

        Their*

      • toiletclown - Apr 4, 2014 at 6:19 AM

        Your Bruins looked like a ripe turd sandwich last night. Hope they keep that momentum up haha loser

  8. 950003cups - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Glass Martin is back!

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