Alec Martinez isn’t the last active member of the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup championship teams—for goodness sakes there’s still a handful of heroes left—but until the trade on Wednesday morning, Martinez was the only one who’d been frozen in time. He will forever stand, knees bent, jazz hands wiggling with Henrik Lundqvist face down for fortysomething seconds in game five of the Stanley Cup Final. Every time he would hit the ice you would see him in the same uniform he’d worn since those back-to-back, double overtime series winning goals in 2014. While almost of the non-core players moved on to new teams or new careers, Martinez remained a resolute figure of pride from team that won three game sevens on the road, including an improbable reverse sweep.
His flair for the dramatic always seemed to rise in the desperate minutes of the game. The majority of his 68 regular season and playoff game goals seemingly all were game-tying or game-winning goals, each one of them fluttering towards the net like a 1970’s knuckleball pitcher. All of his goals were slow-motion masterpieces that had eyes as they weaved their way through traffic. We all wondered how those pucks over made it across the goal line.
What’s sad for fans—and probably for Martinez as well—is not that he didn’t get his happy ending and remain a King for life, it’s that we didn’t get that one last iconic moment while he was here.
Martinez’s last act in a Kings uniform will be the same as Tyler Toffoli: winning the Stadium Series outdoor game. On some level, Martinez has been a part-time player since he arrived in Los Angeles 11 years ago, having played only 597 games out of a possible 824. He’s been trade bait for the entire term of Rob Blake’s GM career. That couldn’t have been easy, but you would never have known it. Martinez was the consummate professional day in and day out.
From now on, Martinez will be just like his old teammates: part of the past. He’ll secure the blueline for a Vegas Golden Knights team that has been up and down all season with a D Corp that is significantly diminished since that magical Stanley Cup run that fell just short. Maybe he’ll make that iconic moment in the desert in the playoffs the next two years. Maybe he’ll disappear from relevance altogether. I doubt it, but anything’s possible. Whatever happens, though, for the first time since 2010, he won’t play hockey for the Los Angeles Kings.
For 10 plus years, Martinez was an indispensable piece of the team, the handsome face of the franchise. He outlasted Mitchell, Green, Muzzin, Scuderi, Voynov, and the lot of rotating crop of prospects. He stepped up on the biggest stage in 2014, ensuring the Kings weren’t some fluke that year. What a shame that would have been.
Now that’s he’s gone, the Kings now have to find another magic man.
You wonder if that’s even possible.
No one will ever capture our hearts like he did.
Thanks for the Memories
He Could Hit
“Alex Martinez with the left leg save...”
(Ducks announcers really need broadcasting lessons! Yes, they said Alex!)
The Double OT Goal
2014 Game 5 Stanley Cup Final
The Forgotten Would-Be Series Winner
2014 Game 6 Western Conference Final
The Other Double OT Goal
2014 Game 7 Western Conference Final
The Game-Winning Goal Against Lundqvist - 10/29/2018
Another OT Winner - 10/20/2016 v. Dallas
Overtime Specialist: Alec Martinez - 12/8/2015 v. Columbus
Delta Kings Class
The First Fight - 2/6/2020
Vs. Casey Cizikas
If you came to Staples Center early, you would be treated to this mechanical cue cards read (We’ll miss this the most...)