Home USA News Martinez back to normal as he nears 700th career game

Martinez back to normal as he nears 700th career game

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez is two games short of the 700th game…

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez is two games short of the 700th game of his career.

It will be quite an achievement considering he thought his 671st game would be his last.

Nov. 11 will mark one year since Martinez was cut in the face by Minnesota forward Brandon Duheim’s skate, keeping him out of the Vegas lineup for more than four months due to the injury.

“I would say that in my darkest days, I was worried that this was the end of my career,” Martinez said in an interview with the Associated Press. “Fortunately, I was able to find doctors who were able to figure me out and give me some medication or a combination of medications that would make my nervous system calm down.”

The 35-year-old two-time Stanley Cup winner, who is set to reach the 700-game milestone Tuesday in Toronto, is still hesitant to discuss the injury that left a roughly two-inch scar under his left eye, in part because he doesn’t. don’t want attention, and also because it’s hard to talk about it without being traumatized.

Martinez said he was frustrated and disappointed that he had to miss 53 games because of what he calls “a fluke.” But I also had to meet with different doctors who were working on how to fix the nerve damage.

And there was a mental hurdle he had to overcome.

“You really didn’t expect what he went through, what anybody would go through with an injury, because … he couldn’t even live with it,” Golden Knights forward Chandler Stevenson said.

While Knights captain Mark Stone was dealing with his own painful nerve injury that required a lumbar discectomy on May 19, both were equally frustrated at missing ice time after seeing his teammate suffer, look at things in perspective.

“None of us have ever been through anything like this,” Stone said. “One of the most disgusting things I’ve seen in professional hockey. But like I said, it’s just persistence and dedication to the game, wanting to keep playing the game, and he ended up having a lot of support in his corner from different people, especially his family, who wanted him to keep playing.” .

Martinez ended up playing the final 15 games for Vegas last season, but it wasn’t easy. The first half was tense. And while he said he started to feel more like himself in the second half, the medication he was taking physically interfered.

“I never thought that just a piece could create what it created,” Martinez said. “I’m lucky to have the doctors I have and again I appreciate the organization, the coaches and all the effort they put in to get me to the right neurologists, the right neurosurgeons to help me sort things out. And not even play hockey again, but just live a normal life.”

Normal, which brings us to Ottawa, where Martinez registered three blocked shots in Thursday’s 5-4 win over the Senators, giving him a league-leading 54 through 12 games this season. His average of 13.74 blocked shots per game leads the league.

It’s certainly back to normal for Martinez, whose style of play had his teammates nicknamed him “Warrior” long before Duhaime’s blade cut into his face.

Given his comeback and performance as a player who ranks fourth in the league with 1,214 blocked shots since 2014, that nickname has taken on new meaning as he approaches his 700th career game.

“He’s been through a really tough injury where you think you’re on the mend and you’re not, and it’s tough mentally when you don’t really have a timetable for when it’s going to get better,” teammate Reilly Smith said. “He struggled with it and went through a lot of frustration through it. For him to come back this year and play great for us and step into the role that we expect him to, it was great, it was great to see.”

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