In 217 games in the NHL, Matt Martin has amassed 379 penalty minutes. At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Martin is not shy to drop the gloves and be the physical left wing that has been instrumental to the New York Islanders finding success. Little do his opponents know, Martin's image off ice is anything but what his game-day face portrays.
Kathryn Tappen: Is there a reason you wear No. 17?
Matt Martin: I used to wear 19 when I was younger because my favorite player was Joe Sakic. When I went to Sarnia there was already a player wearing 19 so I switched to 17 because my mom and dad's birthdays are both on the 17th. Now my number means a lot to me.
KT: You get to play against Joe Sakic's team this season.
MM: I know! I'm pretty excited. I've never actually met him or seen him in person, so it would be really cool to get to do that.
KT: What was your welcome-to-the-NHL moment?
MM: I was in Pittsburgh and I was stretching. I looked over and saw Sidney Crosby warming up with the puck and it all hit me right there. I remember thinking that I had finally accomplished my dream. Playing a guy like that who you watch on TV who is one of the best in the League, and then seeing him live on the ice was definitely something I'll remember forever.
KT: You have the NHL record for most hits in a single season with 374. Who is the hardest player to hit?
MM: There are a few guys in the NHL who are really hard to hit. I ran into Dustin Byfuglien and I thought I was going to lay him out and he didn't even see me coming and stopped me dead in my tracks. Zdeno Chara is another guy who is really hard to knock over. I have fun trying to knock those guys over; it's a great challenge, but there's definitely been a few times where I feel it more than they did.
KT: Well I hate to ruin your tough-guy image, but you hosted the red carpet for BCTV at this year's MTV VMA's at Barclay's Center.
MM: It was a different experience, something I'll probably never get to do again in my life so it was pretty cool to be a part of. My co-host Alyonka (Larionov) made me feel comfortable and made it easy for me. A lot of the people we talked to I didn't even know who they were.
KT: You know you've given your teammates some serious ammo here with your red-carpet hosting.
MM: Oh for sure, I'm never going to hear the end of it, might as well enjoy it right?
KT: Who was your favorite celeb?
MM: I talked to former UFC Champ Tito Ortiz for about 20 minutes. He's a big hockey fan. He knows Dustin Penner well. He told me when he's in New York he'd love to come to a game. It would be nice to get some fighting tips from him actually!
KT: So no future in entertainment reporting for you?
MM: No thanks, I'll stick to sports.
KT: What do you mean? Your assistant coach Doug Weight is a pro at the TV thing!
MM: Yeah I know. I always see him on with you guys on the NHL Network during the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs. He's pretty good at it. He walks into our dressing room and when he starts talking everyone wants to listen and pay attention to him. He takes control of the room.
Matt Martin holds the record for most hits in an
NHL season with 374. (Click to enlarge)
KT: I know you're a huge country music fan. Do you ever get up and sing it karaoke?
MM: I think I did karaoke once in Bridgeport at our rookie party.
KT: Nice! What did you sing?
MM: I can't remember. Something girlie.
KT: Must have been a good rookie party then?
MM: (laughs) It was. Absolutely.
KT: Needless to say we won't be seeing any karaoke videos of you pop up on You Tube anytime soon?
MM: No, every time I always start singing, everyone gets mad at me, telling me to shut up. No one really likes my voice too much, so I don't think I'll be standing on stage singing anytime soon.
KT: I hear you're a fashion buff.
MM: I always buy GQ magazine to read on the plane, I like to look good and dress well. With so much free time we go to the mall and walk around and end up buying stuff. My mom likes to chirp me and call me a shopaholic. But that's not something I like too many people to know, especially guys around the League, so can you word this a certain way and kind of take care of me?
KT: Sure you got it.