It’s the buzz that most bothers the man who was brought in to keep the flies off. As has become the new normal during Toronto Maple Leafs games, Matt Martin and Josh Leivo won’t be on the ice or up in the press box when the puck drops on the Battle of Ontario Saturday. Instead, they’ll be peddling exercise bicycles and heaving weights in the bowels of the Air Canada Centre, aligning their exercise — at least time-wise — with those higher on coach Mike Babcock’s depth chart. You know, the hockey players actually playing hockey games. "You can hear crowd noise a lot, but you don’t know what’s going on," Martin said in an interview Friday, anticipating his eighth consecutive healthy scratch. "It’s a weird feeling. It’s harder to watch the game than it is to play it." Imagine being in the arena without having any immediate purpose, listening to thousands react to someone younger and cheaper do a job you could’ve sworn they hired you to do. "Watching is the hardest. I get so much anxiety just sitting there,” Martin says. “You feel like you can’t control anything — and that’s hard.” Martin is 28. When the benchings began, he was in the midst of his most effective season as a pro.
Leafs’ Matt Martin talks healthy scratch life: ‘I get so much anxiety’
Sportsnet | Feb 9