NORWEGIAN ROOKIE CAN BE TOUGH GUY
Rugged rookie forward from Norway fitting in just fine with Avalanche
winnipeg, manitoba» Andreas Martinsen, the trailblazing Avalanche rookie forward from Norway, recently was given permission to check out of the team-provided hotel and get his own place in the Denver area.
By season’s end, he probably will be asked to sign a contract extension.
Martinsen, 25, has been akin to a fabulous freshman in his maiden season in North America. His two goals and eight points in 30 games are unimportant compared with what has done with his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame. He’s unafraid of injury or retaliation, and throws his big body around to create space and opportunity for his teammates. He is the depth power forward the Avalanche hoped he would become after signing him as an undrafted free agent last spring.
“I’ve been here for 30 games now and it’s been going well so far,” Martinsen said Saturday after a 2-1 loss at Columbus. “It goes up and down, but I feel that my game is more stable than it was at the beginning. I felt like I had a little down before (Thursday’s) New Jersey game, a couple games when I didn’t play my best, but I found a way to get back.”
Martinsen — one of two Norwegians playing in the NHL and the eighth in league history — is the left wing on Colorado’s third line, with center Chris Wagner and future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla on the right side. Martinsen began in the American Hockey League with the San Antonio Rampage before being called up Nov. 9 and making his NHL debut the following night at Philadelphia.
Martinsen has two career fighting majors, both coming immediately after delivering big legal checks. He fought Chris Neil on Nov. 25 after crushing an Ottawa player against the boards. And he fought Arizona’s Steve Downie after laying out one of Downie’s teammates Dec. 27.
He won both fights, based on voting at hockeyfights.com.
“I’m not going out there to fight guys. But obviously, I know if I throw around big hits someone is going to come up and say, ‘That’s not OK.’ I know that,” Martinsen said. “That’s how it is for me. I’m a big guy and I know how to defend myself when that comes up. It’s not like I’m going out there to look for guys to fight. But if it happens, it happens.”
Andreas Martinsen likes to play rough. “I’m a big guy and I know how to defend myself,” he says.