Share This Page

Martin hoping to finally get on the ice in Olympics

| Thursday, July 25, 2013, 12:31 a.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Paul Martin celebrates his goal with Jarome Iginla and Matt Niskanen during the first period against the Senators on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.

Sidney Crosby's “Golden Goal” in the 2010 Olympics broke the hearts of Team USA and its fans.

No one, however, felt the sting quite like Penguins defenseman Paul Martin.

A lock to play in Vancouver, Martin missed the tournament because of a broken arm.

Normally among hockey's most reserved players, Martin has admitted to being crushed by his inability to play in those Olympics. So he was excited to see his name on the invitation list to the team's orientation camp in August, and many believe Martin is certain to make the 2014 Olympics.

“I am honored to have this opportunity,” Martin said.

Martin's strong 2013 season seems to have cemented his chance to make the team, which is being selected by a group that includes Penguins coach Dan Bylsma and general manager Ray Shero.

Coming off two subpar seasons with the Penguins, Martin justified the five-year, $25 million deal he signed in 2010 despite playing only 34 games in the 48-game schedule because of a hand injury. Martin tied a career high with six goals and produced 23 points. He finished with a plus-14 rating.

Martin played through a significant injury in the playoffs and was one of the Penguins' most effective performers, finishing with 11 points in 15 games. He and fellow American defenseman Brooks Orpik formed one of the league's finest tandems.

And the two could play together in Sochi.

“I wouldn't mind being paired with anyone,” Martin said with a laugh, noting his primary desire just making the team. “But I would enjoy playing with Brooksie.”

Martin has come tantalizingly close to representing his country in the Olympics, and at 32, this could represent his final chance.

In Torino in 2006, Martin was named to Team USA but never played.

A broken arm sustained in October of 2009 — the injury was the result of blocking a shot fired by former Penguins forward Bill Guerin — while he was playing for New Jersey kept Martin from playing in Vancouver.

“It was definitely tough being named to the team and having to watch because of an injury,” Martin said. “Especially after traveling to Torino for the Olympics four years earlier.”

Martin has many things in his favor entering the 2014 games.

Bylsma and Shero are helping to select this team, and both have shown loyalty to Martin. Shero could have traded him last summer but chose to believe in Martin.

“He had a great season,” Shero said.

Also, Martin's physical attributes seem to make him a natural for the Olympics. The larger ice surface favors strong skaters.

“He would have been on the ice in 2010,” Team USA general manager David Poile said.

American teams have struggled on large, international ice surfaces.

“We know we want to have a team that can skate well,” Team USA and Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato said. “That's important and part of the talent evaluation process.”

There is no question Martin meets the qualifications to play for Team USA. Now, he needs to stay healthy so he can realize a lifelong dream.

“I am looking forward to the challenge of earning a spot,” Martin said.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.