Allen’s all right
As NHL operations continue to linger in stagnant dysfunction, Kings’ defenseman Alec Martinez continues his tumultuous adventure during the league’s lockout.
The CHL? The CHL.
It’s a stint in the Central Hockey League for Martinez, who is now settled just outside of Dallas, Texas with the Allen Americans. The CHL consists of 10 teams, and runs on a short regional circuit. A handful of other NHL players are playing in the CHL during the lockout, including former Kings defenseman Kyle Quincey, who played in 12 games with the Denver Cutthroats earlier this season.
Alec Martinez was the second Kings player to flee North America once the NHL strike began, heading to Finland to join TPS Turku in the Finnish pro league SM-liiga. Martinez played 11 games with TPS Turku until he took a slap-shot directly to the face in a contest on November 13.
The damage to Martinez’ face required reconstructive surgery, so he soon returned home from Finland to his off-season home in Allen, Texas – the same town he brought the Stanley Cup trophy to on his day of celebration this summer.
This is eerily similar to Trevor Lewis‘ recent signing in Utah, minus the dome surgery.
Don’t let the CHL‘s level of play put a downward twist on what a rather brilliant decision this is for Alec Martinez, likewise with the Allen Americans. There is no plausible reason for Martinez to return to Finland after going through such a horrid injury and recovery procedure.
This move allows Martinez to play at a mid-level, and still professionally, to comfortably recover from his facial injury while simultaneously staying in game-shape for an NHL return.
Which, in turn, could be another positive glimmer to league talks that the NHL could return to play on January 19th. This would be the final date in which a “legitimate season” could be salvaged – that being a 48-game schedule for each club.
If there’s legs to these talks, Martinez is at home just where he should be – whilst playing professional hockey. Call it a ‘win-win’ among a season filled with disappointment.
El fin: As for Martinez’ time in Finland, the experience did bring along a moment of magic for the Kings’ 25 year-old defenseman. He only scored one goal in his 11-game stint overseas, but it came in overtime on November 1st – via a beautifully placed snap-shot from the point.
Goose egg: Martinez debuted with the Allen Americans Monday night, staying off of the scoresheet, but certainly helped defensively in the Americans’ 4-0 shutout victory against the Quad City Mallards.
The next scheduled contest for Martinez and the Americans is on Friday night at the Allen Event Center against the Tulsa Oilers.