NOR­WE­GIAN ROOKIE CAN BE TOUGH GUY

Rugged rookie for­ward from Nor­way fit­ting in just fine with Avalanche

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Mike Cham­bers Mike Cham­bers: mcham­bers@den­ver­post.com or @mikecham­bers

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.”

AAron On­tiveroz, The Den­ver Post

An­dreas Martin­sen likes to play rough. “I’m a big guy and I know how to de­fend my­self,” he says.

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