In December of 2008 I was able to obstruct New Jersey Devils defenseman Paul Martin long enough to ask him a few questions about his life and interests away from the ice. Martin just finished his fifth year with New Jersey after they drafted him out of the University of Minnesota in the 2nd round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. During his college career, the 6’1”, 200 lb. Martin was a member of the Golden Gophers back-to-back National Championship teams in 2002 and
“He sees the ice so well out there, the way he reads plays,” said fellow blueliner and teammate Bryce Salvador of Martin. “He’s pretty smooth with the puck; he knows where to be in the right spot at the right time. It makes the game that much easier (for me).” This past season Martin tallied 33 points (5g-28a) in 73 games and netted four assists in their seven-game playoff series vs. Carolina. Over his career, in 378 NHL games, Martin has 152 points (24g-128a) with five game-winning goals and a plus/minus rating of +45. So who is Paul Martin off the ice? Read on:
Dan Rice: What is your pre-game routine, if you do have one?
Paul Martin: Not anything much different from anybody else. You come to the rink and relax, listen to some music, and get yourself ready to play the game. I don’t do anything too crazy.
DR: What kind of music are you into?
PM: I guess I’m a classic rock guy; I like a little Led Zeppelin, some Tool, some (Red Hot) Chili Peppers; anything to mix it up.
DR: Who is your roommate on the road and how are they?
PM: It’s Andy Greene, but he’s hurt. So I have Michael Rupp—he’s a great guy, he’s a lot of fun. They usually don’t put forwards with defenseman, but it worked out that way. He’s (usually) playing cards, so I get the remote; more than maybe I should, so that’s always good.
DR: Do you have a favorite TV show?
PM: I like to watch Entourage on HBO and Two & a Half Men (on CBS). Our schedule sometimes doesn’t permit us to watch the same shows, but TiVo helps.
DR: What was the last job you had before becoming a professional hockey player?
PM: Besides hockey camps (during the summer), I used to work at my Dad and another guy’s convenient sporting goods store, back towards home in Elk River, Minnesota, called Dynamics Sports. I used to work in there sharpening skates and doing all that kind of stuff.
DR: What is the best vacation you have ever been on?
PM: So that doesn’t include going overseas to play hockey? It has to be a vacation I assume?
DR: Whatever you want to say is fine with me.
PM: Well this summer actually, was the first time I went down to Mexico with some friends for a wedding. So I got to spend time with my friends and that was a good time.
DR: What is your favorite sport, besides hockey?
PM: I’d have to go with football, definitely.
DR: Big Golden Gophers fan?
PM: It’s tough, you know they started off hot and they’ve had a tough time in the Big Ten (conference). The Gophers were 7-5 (3-5 in conference play) at press time.
DR: Have you met any celebrity that you wouldn’t have met because you are in the NHL?
PM: Not really, I don’t get into too many situations like that. I’ve been able to meet some ex-hockey players, but nothing too exciting as far as movie stars and stuff like that.
DR: What do you remember about your first NHL goal?
PM: It was actually an assist by the Professor, Igor Larionov, that’s what I remember the most. He came across the blue line, took the puck to the middle and just dropped it to the right. I got a hold of it and shot it as hard as I could and closed my eyes; and it went in. I think it was (against) Tampa Bay, (Nikolai) Khabibulin, so it was a good memory for me.
DR: Paul’s memory was dead on, his first goal came on October 18, 2003 vs. Tampa and it was Khabibulin that he scored on. Impressive.
DR: Do you have the puck?
PM: I’m sure I do at home.
DR: What is your favorite NHL jersey of all-time?
PM: I’d have to go with the North Stars, the old North Stars; the green one. I had a couple of different ones growing up.
DR: Who is your best friend in the NHL?
PM: That’s tough; it’s quite a few guys actually. Keith Ballard with Florida is one, I lived next to him; I played hockey with him at the U in Minnesota. Jordan Leopold (Colorado), Thomas Vanek (Buffalo), guys that all came pretty much from college that I played with. We’re all pretty good friends and see each other a lot in the summer.
I hope everyone enjoyed learning more about Paul Martin and if there is a player you’d like to read about in a future column or have a question you want asked, let me know:
Dan Rice covers the New Jersey Devils & NHL for NYCSportsnetwork.com, and works for Maxhockey.com, as well as IslesNation.com. He can be reached at DRdiablo321@yahoo.com.