Losing forward Jordan Martinook to an injury for six to eight weeks does more than knock a player out of the Carolina Hurricanes’ lineup.
Martinook, who will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a core muscle injury, served as an alternate captain. He’s a rugged, heart-and-soul kind of player. His voice often was the loudest in the Canes’ locker room, his energy and attitude contagious.
“He brings a lot of life, on the ice, off the ice,” Canes center Sebastian Aho said Thursday.
Aho smiled, adding, “He makes a lot of noise, everywhere he goes. There’s always something going on wherever ‘Marty’ is.”
Aho said the media often has asked how the Canes would cope without former captain Justin Williams, who is semi-retired from hockey.
“I think it’s one of those same kind of things,” Aho said of Martinook’s absence. “It can’t be one guy. It has to be a team effort and lot of guys step up.”
The Canes on Wednesday recalled forward Julien Gauthier from the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. In Thursday’s practice at PNC Arena, Gauthier replaced Martinook on Lucas Wallmark’s line opposite winger Warren Foegele.
Martinook first underwent surgery May 21 for the core muscle injury that had slowed him during the Stanley Cup playoffs. He did play 10 games as the Canes reached the Eastern Conference finals.
“He brings a lot for us,’ Wallmark said. “We’ll need others to bring energy to the group. We’ve had a good start and ‘Marty’ has been a big part of that but now it’s time for others to step up.”
Wallmark said in talking to Martinook it was apparent he was playing in some pain as this season began, saying, “But with ‘Marty’ he always tried to work hard, even when it hurts. He thought he couldn’t play his best, so I guess it was the right decision.”
Gauthier, who will make his NHL debut Friday for the Canes (4-0-0) against the New York Islanders, has the size at 6-4 and 226 pounds to replace the physical play Martinook provided. He also could add another scoring threat to the lineup -- the former first-round pick had 27 goals for the Checkers last season and then two in two AHL games this season before the recall.
“That’s the way it goes,” Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Thursday. “We’ve got to pick up the pieces and somebody has got to fill in a little bit what he brings for us.
“(Gauthier) was good in camp and this gives him an opportunity in a real game to see what he can do. We need him to be good.”
Gauthier got a long look in preseason, being used in all six exhibition games. But when the final roster cut was made before the season opener, the decision was made to keep winger Martin Necas on the roster and send Gauthier to Charlotte. Now, he’s the first recall.
“You have two choices: you can either complain or find a way,” Gauthier said Thursday. “When I got down there I just worked as hard as I could. Just happy with the result right now (and) I’m here to work.”