SUNRISE, Fla. - Matt Martin hasn't been through the NHL player safety hearing process in several years, not since the infamous February 2011 "brawl of the century" between the Islanders and Penguins.
So Martin didn't know what to expect from his phone hearing with player safety director Stephane Quintal after Martin's knee-on-knee hit to the Stars' Trevor Daley on Tuesday.
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Even after being hit with a one-game suspension, served in Thursday night's 4-3 win over the Predators in Nashville, Martin appreciated the process.
"It was a good conversation and I think the whole process was fair," Martin said after he and a handful of Islanders practiced here Friday. "[Quintal] and I talked for 20 minutes, and I think the NHL knows I'm not a dirty player."
Martin occupies an interesting space in the NHL's world. He's on his way to leading the league in hits for a fourth straight season and he's among the top 10 in the league in fighting majors, but he's as sensitive as they come to anything that's not an attempt to play the game fairly.
The 25-year-old wing was bothered that his hit on the Wild's Keith Ballard in December caused not only a concussion and facial fractures that still have Ballard sidelined, but prompted calls of dirty play. Martin wasn't penalized or suspended for that hit.
But he likely knew something was coming after Tuesday's play. Martin said he braced to make body contact but ended up catching Daley with his knee. Daley will be out two to four weeks, hurting the Stars' already slim playoff hopes.
Martin also appreciated the interaction he had via text with Daley.
"I texted him and told him I was sorry for the play, and he wrote back saying he knew it wasn't my intent and that he loves the way I play," Martin said. "You hear that from a guy you compete against, it's good. He certainly could have been real sour about the whole thing and I wouldn't have blamed him."
Notes & quotes: Kyle Okposo and Tyler Kennedy were due to arrive in Florida on Friday night and skate with the Islanders on Saturday morning before their game against the Panthers. Neither will play Saturday.