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Soft-spoken Martin aware of space invasion

Few NHL players are as generous with their time after practices and games as Penguins defenseman Paul Martin. Fewer are more insightful and honest with their comments.

Maybe nobody speaks softer, though — and this has occasionally presented a problem for reporters who approach him with questions.

Compared to Martin a light afternoon sprinkle sounds like a dark-of-night thunderstorm.

The thing about thunderstorms is that people generally shy away from them. Martin is the Penguins' third-highest paid player, and there is no shying away from him for a beat reporter.

However, his stature and the hush of his voice often results in the invading of his personal space. A reporter is almost forced to lean way into Martin to guarantee his voice is captured on the now-standard digital audio equipment.

Safe to say there is more of a face-to-face gap between teenagers on a first date.

Martin isn't the only soft speaker among Penguins. Center Sidney Crosby is a tough hear in a postgame scrum, his voice not often carrying past the second line of reporters.

Still, Martin's voice might not carry past the first line of a postgame scrum. (Fortunately, few among the local media have figured out he is deserving of go-to-guy status for material, so usually a reporter is free to invade away at his personal space.)

This conundrum of invading personal space came up Friday afternoon after the Penguins' 2-1 home victory over the Ottawa Senators.

"I get that all the time," Martin said of his soft-speaker reputation. "I've never been that loud of a person."

Can he be?

"Right, right, right," Martin said, smiling while mock raising his voice with each repeating of that word.

"I'm aware of it. Part of it is just people are asking questions and I'm just trying to talk to the person like he's across from me, like he's just around."

The guy even broke down his own voice.

That is insightfulness. That is honesty.

That was hard to hear.

Rob Rossi, in his fourth season covering the Penguins, shares some of the scenes unique to a traveling beat reporter.

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