Alec Martinez has won two Stanley Cups; both with the Los Angeles Kings. At 35, he has a visible scar on his face and some grey hair mixed in his facial hair. He has faced it all. He’s been through the wars, and he was holding court after the Game 2 win and started talking about discipline.
“We knew what style of play they are. They’ve done a lot of things well,” Martinez noted. “They’re an aggressive team. When they get on the forecheck they make it difficult for us. They want to get under your skin and it’s important to stay disciplined.”
And there it is. When he said that it hit me like a bolt of lightning. To me, this is why they’ve been able to own the Panthers in the third period, in the first two games of the 2023 Stanley Cup.
“In terms of discipline, there’s a lot of kinds of discipline. Sticking with your game plan. There’s also when they’re hacking and whacking after the whistle. And not retaliating. You might have to take a few, but hopefully in the end it’s worth it.”
Martinez is a calming influence. He’s been on the Knights since 2019-20 and wasn’t a part of that first Cup team. But he is a part of this version, and he probably doesn’t get talked about enough.
He has six points in these playoffs, and he’s only taken one minor. That’s that discipline he was talking about. He’s played under 15 minutes and over 23 in his last five games. Head coach, Bruce Cassidy seems to know how to use him without burning him out.
Martinez could be a part of another Cup-winning team if they can get two more wins against the Florida Panthers. It won’t be easy. They know they are in for a war, but he and the Knights are prepared for that.