Feeling "pretty good" about return, Muzzin focuses on getting shots through - LA Kings Insider

Jake Muzzin enjoyed a mostly positive return to the lineup Saturday night and accounted for two assists in Los Angeles’ 5-2 win over Dallas.

“I just talked to [Assistant Coach John Stevens] this morning. He said I did a good job competing off the rush,” the second-year defenseman said Sunday morning at the team’s practice facility.

Muzzin earned 1:43 of power play time as part of a relatively light workload of 14 minutes and six seconds. Though he acquitted himself well in many regards in Saturday night’s win, the defenseman with a heavy slapshot and crisp wristshot was once again challenged to get shots through traffic. Though Muzzin has a goal and three assists through four games, he has five shots on goal – and eight shots that have been blocked.

It’s early in the season, and eventually the number of attempts blocked will turn around. He identified players within his locker room and outside the Western Conference as those who provide a strong model of getting shots through traffic when defenses collapse around the net.

“Guys like number eight on our team is pretty good at it,” Muzzin said of Drew Doughty. “Karlsson on Ottawa – he can move and creates lanes. So you just try those things in practice, and try ‘em in a game and see if they work. You’ve got it in you to try it, just watching and trying to create an angle. It’s tough. These guys block shots a lot.”

Muzzin’s confidence with the puck has grown, and if last season’s head fake of Saku Koivu can be used as an example, he has shown a promising ability to play the puck with his head up, which affects the way he receives pressure.

“If you look like you are in control, guys won’t come out at you as hard. If you look kind of like you’re in panic, or your head’s down, they’re going to charge at you. But if you have your head up and you kind of buy some time for yourself, you can see options. You’re not just set on one play. You can see if there’s a guy open here or there. You can fake or make a play with your head up a little bit better than skating with your head down.”

Of course, Muzzin’s play without the puck and his ability to assert himself physically and use his 6-foot-3 frame will continue to keep him in the good graces of a coaching staff that places considerable value on size and strength.

“I felt pretty good,” Muzzin said of his Saturday night performance. “I wanted to play physical and make simple plays, hard plays, and let the rest look after itself. I could’ve been a little better, a little more composed with the puck, but for a first game back in a while, I felt pretty good.”

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.