ShareThis Page

Sochi hockey notebook: Martin's 'emotional' debut

| Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, 3:37 p.m.
Paul Martin headshot
NHLI via Getty Images
Paul Martin headshot

SOCHI, Russia — Paul Martin, as open as any athlete Pittsburgh knows, acknowledged some intense emotions Thursday before and after the United States' opening 7-1 victory over Slovakia.

And small wonder: He was part of the taxi squad for the 2006 Games, then missed 2010 to a broken forearm, then nearly missed these with that broken tibia in November with the Penguins.

His name was announced through Shayba Arena as a starter, and that did it.

“You know, I grew up playing for my country, always wanting to play for my country,” Martin said Saturday after practice. “When you miss a couple Olympics and you're older, you appreciate it that much more. In that moment, it was emotional, definitely. I was out there on the ice skating around, just thinking, ‘I'm on the ice for my first Olympic game. It's happening.' ”

But nothing like afterward.

“My family's here and … we all got pretty choked up. In our world, we don't always appreciate how fortunate we are to do something we love for a living. I just wanted to take it all in.”

It'll be Quick

Team USA coach Dan Bylsma chose Jonathan Quick to start Saturday vs. Russia, essentially naming him the Americans' No. 1 goaltender without saying so.

“This is about one game,” Bylsma said. “I thought Jonathan made some big early stops on Slovakia.”

“I'm just grateful for the chance,” Quick said.

Bylsma made no changes to his lines or pairings, but Martin and Brooks Orpik could be paired Saturday.

The Crosby shuffle

Team Canada coach Mike Babcock promised impatience with Jeff Carter on Sidney Crosby's right wing, and he followed through: Carter was replaced after one game by reigning NHL scoring champ Martin St. Louis for the 6-0 shutout of Austria on Friday.

Crosby had one assist, on a Patrick Marleau tap-in. In general, St. Louis appeared more effective in reading off Crosby and Chris Kunitz.

Funny thing about Carter's demotion: He responded with a hat trick.

Kunitz jitters?

Kunitz hasn't been bad, but his play looked tight and lacked creativity. He remains scoreless through two games with three shots and an even rating.

With Babcock already having scratched the likes of Matt Duchene and Patrick Sharp, it can't be assumed he'll stick by Kunitz for Canada's toughest round-robin game, Sunday vs. Finland.

More Maatta

Olli Maatta's two goals and two assists have him tied for the Olympic tournament lead, including a goal and both assists in Finland's 6-1 walk over Norway on Friday.

Maatta scored late in the third, but his assists were prettiest: An end-to-end rush set up a Lauri Korpikoski goal in the first, and his wrister through traffic was deflected by Korpikoski in the second.

The punchline: Maatta achieved all that in 14 minutes, 56 seconds of ice time, about five minutes less than he would log in a typical NHL game.

Zetterberg out

Sweden announced before its 1-0 win over Switzerland that captain Henrik Zetterberg will miss the rest of the tournament because of a herniated disk, taking a third key player off their roster.

The Swedes were medal favorites a month ago, but since then the 2006 Olympic champions have lost three of their best forwards due to injuries: Zetterberg, Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzen.

Still, with Friday's win, the Swedes (2-0) moved into a favorable position to earn a spot in the quarterfinals as the only undefeated team in Group C. With a victory over winless Latvia on Saturday, they would be among the final eight in the 12-nation tournament.

The Associated Press contributed. Dejan Kovacevic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Dejan_Kovacevic.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.