Welcome back to Vegas Hockey Now’s season in review series where we look at every player on the Vegas Golden Knights and their 2021-22 season from Michael Amadio to Zach Whitecloud.
You can catch up on the series here: Michael Amadio, Reilly Smith, Jonas Rondbjerg, Keegan Kolesar, Robin Lehner, Alex Pietrangelo, Nolan Patrick, Shea Theodore, Jake Leschyshyn, Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Laurent Brossoit, Mattias Janmark, William Carrier, Jack Eichel, Nicolas Roy, Chandler Stephenson, Jonathan Marchessault, Ben Hutton, Dylan Coghlan, Nicolas Hague, Zach Whitecloud, and Brett Howden.
Today’s player is Alec Martinez.
Alec Martinez’s 2021-22 season story is a scary reminder of just how dangerous the sport of hockey can be. I understand why athletes have certain preferences on equipment. It’s all about gaining an advantage over the competition, etc. And I am also aware that my hockey playing skills are equivalent to a walrus on skates. But it still baffles me why NHL’ers don’t wear certain protective equipment such as full-bubble face shields, neck guards, and also how it took 42 years for goalies in the NHL to start wearing masks.
Were talking about this because of Alec Martinez, and the unfortunate injury that he faced this past season. In a November 11th game against the Minnesota Wild, Martinez checked Brandon Duhaime into the boards, and as Duhaime fell, his skate blade sliced Martinez’s face.
Alec Martinez went to the dressing room after this skate blade appeared to catch him up high. pic.twitter.com/udlwavl2Kr
— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) November 12, 2021
According to former head coach Peter DeBoer Martinez required over 50 stitches. He missed the next 53 games with a facial laceration and earned a scar that Golden Knight’s owner Bill Foley called “worse than Beth’s from Yellowstone.”
Thankfully, he was able to return to play in late March against the Chicago Blackhawks. The absence of Martinez’s presence on the Golden Knight’s blue line was a big reason why they struggled in 2021-22 and failed to make the playoffs for the first time in team history.
In the games Martinez was able to play, he scored three goals, five, assists, and eight points.
Another day, another goal from a defenseman! Alec Martinez tying things up in Vegas! 💪🥅🚨
WSH 1 | VGK 1, 1st period pic.twitter.com/5enxwoqCkT
— AT&T SportsNet™ | RM West (@ATTSportsNetRMW) April 21, 2022
He didn’t come back and set the league on fire, but his presence back on the blue line greatly improved the team’s defense after he was finally able to return in late March.
🍸 Fun fact about Alec Martinez: HE’S PLAYING TODAY!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/N5r6rGtKY6
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) March 26, 2022
So many players on the Golden Knights need to hit the refresh button after a chaotic and injury-ridden 2021-22 season. Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Jack Eichel, Robin Lehner, and Reily Smith all fall into this category. But no player needs a fresh start more than Martinez.
Hopefully, he can return to being one of the most reliable two-way defensemen in the entire National Hockey League next season. At 34 years of age, Martinez is on the older side of things. But his experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is like no other as he will always have this goal on his resume.