Christian Marti Back With the Phantoms

Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Christian Marti is hoping to make an impact and stay healthy down the stretch. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
It's been a bit of a struggle for defenseman Christian Marti so far this season - his first year of professional hockey in North America - but not because of his play on the ice. Rather, his unfortunate luck with injuries this season has limited him to just six games with the Phantoms this season.

Shoulder surgery late in the summer cost him the first month of the season. After Marti returned on November 6th, he took a big hit up high from Providence Bruins forward Andrew Cherniwchan two weeks later in his 6th game back - causing him to miss the last seven weeks before returning to action with the Phantoms' ECHL affiliate Reading Royals over the weekend.

"It was pretty nice just to play hockey again," Marti said after Tuesday's practice. "It's been awhile. It's still gonna be a long journey to be like the old me."

Marti played two games of the three Reading played over the weekend, getting into game action on Friday and Sunday. He was recalled on Monday and his first full practice with the Phantoms came this morning.

"I still feel it," Marti said of being a little sore from playing two games in three days. I just [have to] take care of my body now and I'll see how it goes this weekend." . . . I think it starts in practice. I'm going to be honest, I have to pick it up a little bit in practice."

Marti joins the Phantoms at a time where he is one of nine healthy defensemen on the roster, which is less than optimal for a player looking to return to the lineup. He skated at practice today on a pairing with Robert Hagg playing on the right side, unfamiliar territory for the Swiss-born defenseman who has played on the left throughout his hockey career.

"I started practicing the right side again so it's a little different with the positioning," Marti explained after practice. "I'm sure it's not going to be easy, but well I have no choice - I have to go through that."

The defensemen were on the ice by themselves this morning with player development coach Kjell Samuelsson, going through a series of drills before everyone else joined the team for practice. Marti was asking questions and getting plenty of feedback from the former NHL defenseman.

"I asked for some tips," Marti said of his talking with Samuelsson. "I'm not as confident or comfortable as I used to be so I need somebody I can lean on [for advice]."

All in all, Marti is just excited to be back on the ice and is looking forward to shaking the rust off and being an every day part of the Phantoms blue line.

"That's the goal," Marti re-iterated the need to stay healthy. "It sucked big time. I came here with so many goals, with high expectations and most of the time the guys saw me in the trainer's room. I was pretty upset, but now I'm happy to be back and part of the team. I just hope it all works out now."


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