And they continue to flee Los Angeles in search of hockey.
What was the marquee location for the NHL‘s most prominent stage just under five months ago, L.A. joins the league’s 29 other cities in the lonely void of cancelled games, empty arenas, and a disturbed fanbase. It’s the lockout.
The players, however, are able to take personal hockey matters into their own hands, as we’ve seen with Anze Kopitar and a slew of other names around the league. When something is taken from you, it’s gut-instinct to go and find it elsewhere.
Look to Europe, because over there, hockey’s still in business.
Alec Martinez is now the second Kings player to take his game overseas during the work stoppage. The Michigan native solidified a roster spot with the Kings this past season in his third NHL stint. Beside an upper-body injury that hampered Martinez early in the season, he became a valued asset on the Kings’ blue-line.
In 51 regular season games, Martinez chimed in with six goals and six assists for 12 points. He played in all 20 postseason games, and was arguably the best player on the ice in the Kings’ Stanley Cup-clinching Game six victory.
We’re talking business
Alec Martinez will do some exploring in Finland, tossing a bit of hockey into the mix as well. First reported by Mayors Manor, Martinez has signed a contract with HC TPS Turku Oy in Finland’s SM-Liiga.
Unlike how Anze Kopitar accepted a downgrade in skill and competition to play with his brother, Gasper in Sweden, Alec Martinez is keeping his competition at a high level.
The SM-Liiga is Finland’s top-tier level of professional hockey, and is recognized as being Europe’s second-best professional league.
Martinez’s new club will surely welcome his help, as TPS Turku finds itself at rock-bottom in the standings of the 14-team league. The struggling team has had a rough start to their season, losing five games in regulation, two games in overtime, and winning just two contests in overtime.
Much like goal scoring was a problem for the Kings last season, Martinez is entering the same fray with TPS Turku. They’re struggling to find the net right now, averaging an exact 2 goals per game, which is also in the league’s basement (dead last) in the scoring category.
Martinez may not be the solution to TPS Turku‘s scoring woes, but he’ll be a great addition at his natural position. Defense? They’re struggling in that category as well, in the bottom third of the league in goals allowed.
Keeping in Check
Marty in Montreal
Give us your best “Lockout face”.
That one’s all right.
We can work with that.
And when the NHL decides to get back to work, we’ll have to party. Thrown in the mix, and en route from Finland, will be Marty.