Jordan Martinook doesn’t cheat the game of hockey
NEW YORK — Jordan Martinook is more relentless in his pursuit of the puck than an empty-handed kid in a candy store.
“We call him the hound dog,” captain and regular linemate Shane Doan said. “He has such a big engine, he’s so fast and he competes so hard. You talk to everyone on the team after they play a shift with him and they’ll say ‘man, he’s fun to play with, eh?'”
When Martinook made the team last season as a training camp surprise, his goals were a little different than they are today.
“Last year, for a good portion of the season, I was just trying to prove I belonged here,” he said. “I feel I have proved that so every year, you try and add a little bit more to your game.”
Through five games, the most noticeable addition is offense. Martinook is tied for second on the team with normal linemate Brad Richardson at four points (two goals). Martinook had nine goals his rookie season, and he never topped 15 in three seasons in the American Hockey League when he was charged with other duties, but he has a good shot and he scored 40 with Portland of the WHL in 2011-12, so offense is not foreign to him.
“Whenever you are feeling it offensively, it kind of flows into everything else you’re doing, so I’m feeling good, feeling confident and feeling fast,” Martinook said. “Me and Richie are kind of secondary players but whenever your secondary group is producing offense and you can get your studs going, you can be in a good shape.”
Coach Dave Tippett would like to see primary goal scorers like Anthony Duclair and Max Domi get going, but in some respects, Martinook and Richardson are classic Tippett guys.
“Their role would be more defined as checkers but you see the impact they can have on the game when they do their job well,” Tippett said. “They capitalize on opportunities and that’s what you’re getting now.
“They haven’t had a lot of power play time — very little power play, if any — but yet they have an impact on the game and that’s through speed and work ethic. They’re good core players for us. We need those guys to play well if our whole group is to play well.”
The line of Martinook, Richardson and Doan has been the Coyotes’ most consistent line all season, although they may be broken up in New Jersey on Tuesday to get other guys going. It shows in their 11 combined points, following up on a 2015-16 season in which they produced 48 goals and 102 points.
Richardson said there is chemistry in Martinook’s hard forecheck, Doan’s big body and big shot and Richardson’s reads, but the trio has also forged a fast friendship in just over a season together.
“We all enjoy playing with each other,” said Richardson who signed with the Coyotes as a free agent in 2015. “That’s something you don’t always get, but it’s always nice.”
Doan and Martinook have taken that relationship to another level. It’s almost like watching brothers interact. Doan refuses to call Martinook by his real first name, instead calling him Marty Martinook.
“We’re working on trying to convince everyone that it’s Marty Martinook — that his parents called him that,” Doan said.
The nickname came from infamous practical joker and former Coyote Keith Yandle, so there is likely good reason for Doan’s refusal to reveal the origins of the name.
“I think 75 percent of the team didn’t know my name was Jordan until about three quarters of the way through last season,” Martinook said. “They just thought my parents didn’t like me and named me Marty Martinook.
“Let’s just clarify: My name is Jordan Martinook.”
Martinook returns Doan the favor on many occasions. He always ribs Doan about his age (40), he ribbed him incessantly about the lucky goals he scored last season that bounced off his chest or foot when Doan tallied 28, and at Sunday’s morning skate at Madison Square Garden, Doan was working on a flick shot in tight to the goal that would help him get elevation.
Martinook skated past him and screamed: “Are you kidding me with that? Just shoot the puck. Quit working on that.”
“Every day is pretty good in Marty’s world,” Doan said. “He is such a positive guy and I admire that so much. I think that’s such a big part of being successful, but those are the type of people you want to be around, too.”
Martinook is happy to hear his presence is making that sort of impact.
“I feel like I’ve got a bubbly personality,” he said, laughing, “so for me to help in any way I can while still bringing the energy that I showed off last year — that’s what I was trying to be last year.
“Everything is kind of clicking or me so now we need to get it going for the whole group. I wasn’t expecting this offense coming in but I’m not complaining. I’ll take it and try to build on it.”
Coyotes at Devils
When: 4 p.m., Tuesday
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
TV: FOX Sports Arizona
Radio: ESPN Phoenix 620 AM
Records: Coyotes 1-4. Devils 2-2-1.
Injury report: Coyotes — G Mike Smith (left leg) is week to week. LW Jamie McGinn (upper body) is day to day and could play against the Devils. Devils — D Jon Merrill, (broken finger) and F Luke Gazdic (broken foot) are out.
Scouting the Devils: The Devils made a big splash this summer when they traded defenseman Adam Larsson to Edmonton for forward Taylor Hall. Hall leads the team with three goals this season and is in a four-way tie for the team-lead in points. … G Cory Schneider is having another terrific season. He owns a 1.80 goals against average and a .943 save percentage. … New Jersey has won two of its last three games, including a 2-1, overtime win over Minnesota on Saturday.