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PULLING HIS WEIGHT

Islanders captain shows Martin what it takes to be a pro

Saturday, 09.18.2010 / 2:39 PM / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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PULLING HIS WEIGHT
As the second group took the ice for the first day of camp, Islanders prospect Matt Martin wore the light blue practice jersey. Normally, you’d say ‘so what?’ But this jersey marked him as the third man on a line with the Islanders Captain Doug Weight and veteran player Trent Hunter.

“It’s definitely a good feeling for me,” said Martin about being placed with Weight and Hunter on the first day of camp. “Doug Weight is a Hall of Fame hockey player. He was one of my idols growing up watching the game. Trent Hunter has been around here for a long time as well and he’s been a great player for this organization so to be out there paired with them means a lot. I’m learning a lot and I’m going to continue to learn from them and grow as a player.”

Last season, Martin earned his first spot on a professional team with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and got the call up from Scott Gordon to play in five games for the Islanders. In 76 games with the Sound Tigers, the rookie tallied 12 goals and 19 a
It’s definitely a good feeling for me,” said Martin about being placed with Weight and Hunter on the first day of camp. “Doug Weight is a Hall of Fame hockey player. He was one of my idols growing up watching the game. Trent Hunter has been around here for a long time as well and he’s been a great player for this organization so to be out there paired with them means a lot. I’m learning a lot and I’m going to continue to learn from them and grow as a player. - Matt Martin
ssists for 31 points and 113 penalty minutes.

But this season, Martin is looking to earn a permanent spot on the Islanders roster, so he’s going to do whatever it takes to get there, especially if that means taking advantage of playing with the Islanders Captain.

“I think just his work ethic is amazing,” Martin said about Weight. “He’s reaching that age now that if you’re not in good condition you’re not going to be able to keep up and he’s in great shape. You see him everyday working hard, running on the treadmill and doing everything he needs to do to keep up at this level, but it’s mostly off the ice and the things he does with the players.”
 
Those are great reasons to call the man your mentor. And even though Weight may not consider himself a mentor, he has earned the role for more reasons than just his work ethic. He’s a great guy to have in the locker room and helps keep the moral high.

“He’s the type of guy whether you’re having a good day or a bad day, he can come in the room and make everyone laugh and smile,” Martin said. “So he knows how to loosen things up in the room. He’s been around the league for a very long time. So he just knows how to go about things and make you feel really comfortable.”

Those are great qualities to have in a Captain, especially one who is so modest.

“I don’t look at it as I’m a mentor, I just think I have to be there for those guys and if they do need me,” Weight said. “First and foremost, I need to lead by example. Secondly, you have to have an open door policy. If they need something to make them feel a little more comfortable, they have to be able to talk to me.”

So Martin is a great candidate for Weight to take under his wing. Spending the majority of last season with Bridgeport, Martin is looking to make it to the NHL full time. Over the past few seasons, Weight has gotten to know the forward pretty well.

While Weight has noticed Martin is a big kid, calling his 6’2” and 192 pounds build one of his strengths, he said it takes more than size to get a spot in the NHL.

“We know the type of kid he is because I got to meet him over the last few camps. He’s a really nice kid and he wants to be here bad,” said Weight. “I think that’s what everybody’s seeing right now. I saw some nice skating ability. I think he worked hard at that over the summer and he looks light on his feet.”

Martin did spend his summer training and trying to improve his game, but Weight will take the next few weeks to be a friend, teammate and mentor.

“I think certainly they (the coaching staff) want Matt to take that step and to give him a good look this year to make this team. So I just want to calm him down and hopefully be a good player for him to play with for right now and get him the puck and pass along everything I can.”

At the end of the first day of Training Camp, the future looks bright for the Islanders, for Martin and for the Isles Captain.







   

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