Matt Martin sets a record that probably doesn't matter

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer


According to the NHL stat sheet, New York Islanders forward Matt Martin has hit more players during the 2011-12 season than any other player in league history (or, perhaps more accurately, as long as the NHL has been attempting to track hits).

During the Islanders 6-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon, Martin was credited with his 357th hit of the season, breaking the old record of 356 that had previously been set by Minnesota's Cal Clutterbuck during the 2008-09 season.

But what exactly does this mean? Quite honestly, not much of anything.

The biggest issue with the record, and the stat in general, is that real-time stats like hits don't have any set standard across the league, and vary from arena to arena. A scorekeeper in one city probably doesn't have the same criteria for what is considered to be a hit as a scorekeeper in another city, which can lead to misleading, and most likely, inaccurate data.

Just as an example, there are four teams in the NHL this season (Phoenix, Chicago, Toronto and Florida) that have over 300 more hits at home than they do during road games. Do these teams suddenly play more physical at home (or less physical on the road)? Or is the scorekeeper in those buildings more liberal when it comes to giving out hits as opposed, to say, the scorekeeper in Calgary where the Flames have 262 fewer hits during their home games as opposed to their road games?

There's also the fact that, as we pointed out a few weeks ago, teams and players that pile up a lot of hits may be doing so because they're never in a position to possess the puck, and outhitting your opponent doesn't necessarily translate to scoring goals or winning games. If a player like Martin is able to put up over 350 hits while playing only 12 minutes a game that's probably a good indication that when he's on the ice his team is usually in a position to be chasing after the puck.

Martin is clearly a physical player and seems to be a guy that the Islanders like, but other than being a potential negotiating point come contract time (he led the league in ... something) this is probably the least significant record that could fall during the course of a season.

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