This is not the 2013-2014 season Paul Martin and the Pittsburgh Penguins drew up. After three painfully unproductive years, Martin started earning that hefty $5 million dollars a year contact last season. Okay, it was only 48 games long and he played in 34 of them, but Martin scored more goals (6) and had his highest plus/minus rating (plus-14) in his Penguins career. His game was also defensively streamlined. Yeah, things were looking up for Martin this year.
Then boom went the dynamite . . . or rather the bones in Martin's leg and hand.
Fresh off hustling back from a broken tibia he suffered in November, Martin has broken his hand and will look to be out for possibly the remainder of the season. The outlook of his return for the playoffs is, well iffy. Injuries are nothing new for the Penguins and they'll bounce back from this like the all the others. Simon Despres or Brian Dumoulin? Doesn't matter. Martin only hand two goals and ten assists anyway. That's not massive production that needs replaced. The Pens will survive Martin's busted hand. But will Martin?
Whoa! Calm down! He doesn't have a infection or anything. This isn't a Civil War field hospital. The hurdle Martin now faces is mental. The comeback trail is not a easy one and Martin's already stormed down it once this year.
Martin raced back to the ice in January just in time for the Olympics, which ironically is where he broke his hand. But who can blame him? This was the third time he'd been in Olympic consideration and the last two didn't go so hot. The Sochi Games were Martin's last chance at a medal. That didn't work out so well either.
Paul Martin's 2013-2014 season can best be summed up in one word; disappointing. It will feature no redemption or vindication. Just disaster and setbacks. With the way the young defensemen in the Penguins system are playing and Martin's rotten luck, one wonders what's in store for the 32-year old in the offseason.
Bad news there will just be par for the course for Paul Martin.
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