Alec Martinez returns to Kings’ blue line with new perspective

LOS ANGELES — Over the past month, Kings defenseman Alec Martinez got the gist of the press box experience without the affliction of a reporter’s salary.

“It’s kind of funny,” Martinez said Thursday, when he returned from a 14-game spell on injured reserve. “When you watch the game from the press box, one, everything looks easy, looks slower, but when you’re on ice level that’s not at all how it is. It’s kind of hard to get a real read when you’re up there. I have a general idea of how we played. Then I’ll talk to some of the guys: ‘What did you think about tonight?’ And sometimes I’m spot on. Other times I’m a little off. That’s kind of the way it goes.”

Martinez was sidelined by a shoulder injury Dec. 10. He was in the starting lineup Thursday against the Ottawa Senators at Staples Center, reunited with Jake Muzzin on the Kings’ second defensive pair.

The 31-year-old provided an immediate jolt of NHL experience to a blue line that regularly relied on rookie Sean Walker, second-year Oscar Fantenberg, and third-year Paul LaDue. Walker and LaDue were healthy scratches Thursday.

For Martinez, the downtime provided 14 opportunities to observe the action from high above the ice – an unusual vantage point for a player who has averaged 79 games the past three seasons.

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“When you have the overhead view, it’s like everybody looks wide open,” Martinez said. “The game is just slower. It’s like why didn’t you pass to that guy? He was wide open. But he’s not because there’s a body in the lane or a stick in the lane that you don’t get from that perspective. I’ve even talked to Blakey (Kings general manager Rob Blake) about it. Sometimes he’s got to watch a period at ice level.”

A reliable contributor on the Kings’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2012 and 2014, Martinez’s absence was felt on both ends of the ice. His 70 blocked shots entering Thursday’s game still ranked second on the club despite his month-long absence, and interim head coach Willie Desjardins plugged Martinez into his first penalty kill unit Thursday.

While he doesn’t possess a hard shot or isn’t a flashy puck-handler, Martinez’s skill as a breakout passer can only help the worst offensive team in hockey.

“He just gives you more NHL experience – a guy you can rely on a little bit, moves the puck well, good penalty killer,” Desjardins said. “He certainly gives us more depth back there.”


Defenseman Daniel Brickley, injured Wednesday while playing for the AHL’s Ontario Reign, was examined today. Results were expected Friday. … Forward Matt Duchene, second on the Senators in both goals and assists, was a healthy scratch. He remained in Ottawa one day after his wife gave birth to a boy.


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