Off-Season Loss- Radek Martinek


When browsing Fansided a few days ago, I serendipitously happened upon Eyes on Isles. Reading the articles, I quickly discovered the deep passion that Gary and John both have for the Islanders. Their dedication to this blog, from its inception two seasons ago until now, is to be commended.

I have been an Isles fan since the 1980-84 dynasty years when I would watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs on the USA network. Unfortunately, I have never had the good fortune to attend an Isles game. Nor have I yet to run into another Islanders fan in the Pacific Northwest, where I have resided since 1978.

In their latest posts, Gary and John asked for someone to assist them with this blog. I let Gary know that I would be privileged to help. At the same time, I felt it would provide me with a great opportunity to finally express my thoughts about the Islanders with others.

I do not profess to be a hockey pundit, nor a journalist, nor a good writer. I am only here because I want to share my love of the Isles with you. Today I will embark on a series about the upcoming make-up of the 2011-12 New York Islanders. In it, I will regularly post articles about an off-season loss or acquisition, a prospect, or a player who is currently on the active roster.

Let’s start with the Isles first key off-season loss, Radek Martinek. The Czech defenseman signed a one-year deal worth $2.2 million with the Columbus Blue Jackets after becoming an unrestricted free agent July, 1. He will join former Islander James Wisniewski there on the blue line.

Prior to the move, Martinek, 34, spent his entire 9-year NHL career with the Isles, longer than any other player other than Rick DiPietro. But like DiPietro, the stay-at-home rearguard had a difficult time staying on the ice because of the injury bug. His litany of maladies includes a broken foot, a fractured ankle, a fractured leg, and a concussion. He was only able to play in 16 games during the 2009-10 campaign because of a torn ACL he sustained on November 9, 2009 in New Jersey. It was the second of his career.

Martinek leaves Long Island after amassing 21 goals and 82 assists for 103 points with 272 penalty minutes in 453 games. He was the Islanders’ 12th pick, 228th overall, in the 1999 Entry Draft. He made his NHL debut with the club during the 2001-02 season. The economy defensive defenseman was only able to taste the Stanley Cup Playoffs the following two years. He has not been back since.

The 6-2, 210-pound native of Havlicko Brod, Czech Republic registered 30 goals, 53 assists and 195 penalty minutes in 235 career games with Ceske Budejovice in the Czech Elite League from 1996-01. He also represented his country at the 2000 and 2001 World Championships, helping the Czech Republic capture back-to-back gold medals.

“Radek Martinek has been a solid defenseman in the National Hockey League for several years and we think he will be a nice addition to our hockey club,” said the Blue Jackets’ Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Scott Howson. “He is a smart, steady player who will provide character and experience on our blueline.”

Well said, Mr. Howson. Radek Martinek will be missed on Long Island.