New York Islanders forward Matt Martin plays a tough, physical game. He’s led the NHL in hits for the past three seasons, and is well on his way to claiming that title for the 2014-15 season. Martin averages nearly five hits per game, almost one full hit more than the second-place finisher over the past four seasons.
With all that physicality, he’s bound to cross the line sometimes. It appears he’s done so with his knee-on-knee hit on Dallas Stars defenseman Trevor Daley. Martin has been suspended one game by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
The collision happened 1:48 into Tuesday night’s game between the Islanders and the Stars. Martin was given a major for kneeing by referees Mike Leggo and Francois St. Laurent. Daley left the game with a leg injury.
“That’s a suspension,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. It’s another stupid hit that makes you just shake your head. We’ve already lost our best forward [Tyler Seguin] and now we’ve lost probably our best defenseman for a period of time on a play that just wasn’t necessary.”
Islanders coach Jack Capuano also commented on the play:
“I watched it on the replay and I saw that [Martin] was planted. In my view, he’s planted and there was no intent. First of all, he’s not that kind of a player. He’s an honest guy. It’s unfortunate and hopefully [Trevor] Daley is OK moving forward. I didn’t see it, it was a ‘tweener for me. It was unfortunate for both guys and hopefully he’ll be alright.”
Daley will be alright, but not for some time.
Lindy Ruff: Trevor Daley could be out "weeks" after knee on knee from Matt Martin.
— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) March 4, 2015
The Stars have already lost top center Tyler Seguin to a knee injury from a suspendable hit. Now they’ll lose Daley for extended duration as well.
Martin’s Suspension History
Martin has been suspended twice before. In 2010, he was suspended two games for a blindside hit to the head of Phoenix Coyotes forward Vernon Fiddler. In 2011, he sat for four games for sucker-punching Max Talbot. While Martin is not a ‘repeat offender’ under the CBA, that status only applies to how fines are calculated. His entire suspension history may be considered in determining the length of his suspension. (As a ‘repeat offender’, his fines would be computed on a per-game basis, instead, they’ll be per-day.)
“There’s certain plays that just aren’t necessary in the game, and this is one of them,” said TSN’s Craig Button. “This is not good in any way, shape, or form and it’s not necessary. That’s a play that doesn’t belong in the game. He’s going to pay for it and he should.”
Button called for a minimum of two games to be handed out. Martin has been suspended for just one.
Keep track of this season’s NHL suspensions with our 2014-15 Suspension Tracker