Martin honored with Nystrom award

Matt Martin of the Islanders fights against Stu

Matt Martin of the Islanders fights against Stu Bickel of the Rangers in the first period. (Feb. 24, 2012) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Not everything was bad about Sunday for Matt Martin despite the Islanders' 5-1 loss to the visiting Ottawa Senators. Before the game, the rugged 22-year-old forward was presented the Bob Nystrom Award, the result of fan balloting.

The honor, begun in 1991 and named for the gritty former Islander who played on four Stanley Cup championship teams in the early 1980s, goes to the player "who best exemplifies leadership, hustle and dedication." It came the day after Martin set a league record for a recently kept statistic: "most hits in a season."

The Nystrom award, Martin said, "is an honor, obviously. I pride myself on my hard work and my dedication, so for the fans to recognize me for that is a huge honor. It's something I'll keep in my house a really long time."

Line down

The Josh Bailey-Frans Nielsen-Kyle Okposo line, which had been so productive lately, did not make the scoresheet Sunday. In the previous three games, Bailey had two goals and six assists, Nielsen two goals and three assists and Okposo four goals and one assist. On Sunday, Bailey and Nielsen each had one shot on goal and Okposo had none.

Haley's never boring

Recent call-up Micheal Haley, whose game features a willingness to engage in fisticuffs, was penalized for a first-period fight with Chris Neil, and he took a two-minute roughing penalty for trying to get Neil to box with him again in the third.

"My intention?" Haley said. "I don't know. Just part of hockey. He fights, just another altercation, and we fought. Second one, you know, 4-1, and I didn't like the way him and Matt [Martin] tangled in the corner there, and a boring game, just thought I'd go in there and see what happened."

During each of Haley's penalty-box detentions, Ottawa scored.

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