Joel Martin, the latest personification of the Islanders' gerbils-on-wheels goalie exercise, shook his head and smiled to think he will be wearing an NHL uniform Thursday in that hockey capital, Montreal.
"Crazy world," he said.
Kevin Poulin Wednesday was declared lost for the season after an MRI revealed he had dislocated his left kneecap during warmups for Tuesday night's game against Toronto. So, with Dwayne Roloson traded, Rick DiPietro shelved by a facial fracture, recent call-up Nathan Lawson still working his way back from a knee strain and Evgeni Nabokov refusing to report after being claimed on waivers, the Islanders are down to 22-year-old Finn Mikko Koskinen - pressed suddenly his first NHL action by Poulin's untimely injury - Martin and Al Montoya, who was acquired from Phoenix for a sixth-round draft pick.
At the time of Poulin's misfortune, the 28-year-old Martin was ordering dinner in Bridgeport with a Sound Tigers teammate. He immediately hired a car to whisk him down I-95 and deliver him to Nassau Coliseum for the start of the third period of the Islanders' 5-3 loss.
"Talk about being cold when you're sitting on the bench," he said. "It's about the coldest I've ever been. No warmup."
But the unplanned travel hardly is new to Martin, who was born in Fort Worth, Texas, but adopted by Canadians who relocated him north of the border when he was 1. Barely a month ago, his home games were in Odessa, Texas, in the Central Hockey League. And, prior to that, he played in Kalamazoo, Mich., Augusta, Ga., Elmira, N.Y., Syracuse, Norfolk, Va., Trenton, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.
"Lots of places I never would've been, that's for sure, if not for hockey," he said.