Way back in January, we observed that New York Islanders' winger Matt Martin was on pace to break the NHL single-season hits record. At the time, he had registered 192 bodychecks through 44 games, putting him on pace for 358. This would be two more than the 356 hits Minnesota Wild winger Cal Clutterbuck registered in his 2008-09 rookie season. Could Martin keep the pace?
Yes. In fact, no doubt spurred by the frenzy and delirium surrounding his pursuit of the record (seriously, everyone's been talking about it -- everyone), Martin actually picked up the pace. And, on Saturday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum, in the 78th game of the Islanders' season, Martin recorded 357th hit.
Ladies and gentlemen: Matt Martin, the pride of Windsor, just put together the hittingest season in NHL history.
The record hit came 11:13 into the second period. Zdeno Chara was the lucky recipient. Martin chased a loose puck behind the Bruins goal, but was beaten to it by Marty Turco, who moved it to Chara in the corner. Then, Martin closed fast, driving Chara into the boards just as the Bruins' captain moved the puck up ice.
Of course, since no one cares about Martin's hits record, NESN cut to a different camera before we could witness history being made first-hand. And thus, sadly, there's no footage of the angels descending to adorn Martin with garlands and flowers and sweet-smelling herbs like a scene out of Paradise Lost. The big moment, like a poorly raised child, could be heard but not seen.
Unfortunately for Martin, the statistic of which he is now king is a tainted one, since what constitutes a hit changes from arena to arena.
So is Martin simply the beneficiary of the generous stat-counters on Long Island?
I doubt it. The Islanders are a middle of the pack team in the hitting category both at home and on the road. And Martin accounts for about 20 percent of their hits. He's a standout checker on a team that doesn't really play all that tough. The stat may indeed be tainted, but this accomplishment deserves at least a mention.
And anyway, if you ask me, this record was tainted far more by the fact that Martin set it in the Islanders' hideous third jerseys.
Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney