The 2014 Winter Olympics can be a lot of different things to different players. For Edmonton Oilers defenseman Martin Marincin, it’s a golden opportunity to learn from one of the game’s elite.
Marincin, 21, has only played in 19 NHL contests, but he’ll be making the trip to Sochi and playing for Team Slovakia with Boston’s Zdeno Chara. Oilers coach Dallas Eakins has known Chara since 1999 when they were both at the Islanders’ training camp, so the bench boss has been playing matchmaker.
He’s been pushing Martin to bombard Chara with questions during their time together while asking the Bruins blueliner to help the youngster out.
“(Chara) said he’d spend lots of time with him,” Eakins told the Edmonton Journal. “Zdeno even texted me later, after we were on the plane, reiterating what he had promised.”
Among other things, Eakins is hoping that Chara’s work ethic rubs off on Marincin. At 188 pounds, the rookie defenseman has some room to grow given his 6-foot-4 frame. Eakins has noticed Marincin’s progress, but also feels his strength level has been an issue at times.
The time he spends with Chara probably won’t pay immediate dividends, but it could prove to be a valuable experience as he works towards the next phase of his career.