Sharks discuss ice quality, ramifications of game - LA Kings Insider

Tommy Wingels, on the outdoor practice:
It was a lot of fun. It’s the whole experience, the whole production that the NHL and the Sharks have put on here at Levi’s Stadium is… I’m at a loss for words for it. From following stuff on social media over the last couple days to coming out here and seeing it firsthand and experiencing it, it’s really, really cool.

Wingels, on the condition of the ice:
It’s alright. I think that’s the first time it’s gotten a real good skate on, which will obviously help it but it’s like any outdoor game. The ice conditions aren’t obviously as great as an indoor rink, but neither team will use that as an excuse. We’re going to enjoy it. Make the plays that are there and I think you’ll see maybe not as much risk in both teams’ games because of it. Yeah, the ice was fine.

Wingels, on balancing the importance of the game with enjoying the experience:
I think you try to enjoy with your friends and family and the whole experience on days like today and maybe in warm-ups tomorrow. But once the puck drops, you kind of switch to a more businesslike mentality because this is certainly a very important game. The way the Kings have been playing, the way we haven’t been playing the way we want to the past few games, it’s certainly a big game in the standings. We’ll have to bring our A-Game to get the result that we want.

Wingels, on whether they have to energize the San Jose fan base:
I think every game is an opportunity to do that. Whether you’re playing the top team in the league or someone at the bottom of the league, I think the onus is on the players to give their best every night. It shouldn’t matter if it’s a playoff game, a pre-season game or a big game like this. I think we have the same mentality of playing our hardest and showing our fans what we have as a team and as individuals. Obviously this is a bigger stage. We have more people watching nationally, more people here in person, and it is a big event. It’s certainly a great environment for us to show what kind of team we are. [Reporter: Have you shown that this year?] At times, not on a consistent basis and I think that’s why we sit where we are. The best teams in this league bring it every night. For some reason, that’s something that we haven’t been able to do this year. The good thing about that is it’s not too late to do that. We still have a good chunk of games left. We’re still in a position to do something. The season is certainly not over, so that’s what we’re looking to do here in the final stretch.

Wingels, on what last year’s playoff series adds to the Stadium Series game:
I think we’ve kind of developed a pretty big, good rivalry over the years. Obviously with them coming back in the series last year and then winning two Stanley Cups, I think you always want to knock off the team that’s on top. Right now, that’s them. I think every game we play them, there is a bit… I think we’ve developed a dislike for each other. I don’t think it’s a personal thing, but it’s a team-versus-team thing. But that’s good, I think that’s good for a rivalry, I think that’s good for the Sharks versus the Kings, and I think it’s really good for the fans. We look forward to embracing it tomorrow night.

Matt Nieto, on the growth of hockey in California:
Yeah, hockey is definitely growing within our state here in California. All three teams here are top teams in the league. It’s great for the sport and it’s great for kids and fans here in California.

Nieto, on whether he has family coming up for the game:
Yeah, my dad and sister are here. So they’ll enjoy tomorrow.

Nieto, on finding a balance between the spectacle and the importance of the game:
We’re going to enjoy it, but it’s business too. Tomorrow are two points that we have to win. We know where we stand in the standings. We know where they stand and you know that it’s a tight race right now. These are two huge points.

Nieto, on whether he can comprehend playing in front of the crowd at Levi’s Stadium:
I can’t right now. Just looking up at the stands, there are a lot of seats. It’ll be pretty crazy, definitely the biggest attendance a lot of us have played in front of. So like I said, it’s going to be a great experience.

Nieto, on his first reaction to seeing the stadium:
I was just in awe. Seeing that many seats, it’s such a nice stadium, those HD screens that are huge – it’s a really nice arena. We’ve got a nice setup here in the locker room and stuff. It’s been great.

Joe Pavelski, on his first reaction to seeing the stadium:
It’s just big. It’s really big out there and you’ve got the ice surface. It’s awesome, it really is. We were excited to get out and skate around and get used to it.

Pavelski, on the quality of the ice:
It’s alright. It’s a little soft probably, but overall it wasn’t too bad.

Pavelksi, on finding a balance between the spectacle and the importance of the game:
Well, I think you get to balance it out today. Kind of go on the side of enjoying it all and looking around and just enjoy it. That’s the bottom line, so tomorrow you come back and you’ll take in the crowd and everything. But when the puck drops, it’ll be exciting to get that energy out, the intensity and play the game.

Pavelski, on the environment they’re used to playing in at the SAP Center:
We love playing at the Shark Tank. It’s a great place to play. We have some awesome fans and we get some good energy from them. It’s one of those places where you really enjoy playing.

Pavelski, on playing in front of a larger crowd:
It’ll be great. It’ll be exciting. I’ve been to a football game here earlier. So we’ll have a hockey game here and to experience that crowd will be pretty cool.

Pavelski, on whether the impact this game has on the standings will keep them focused:
Yeah, anytime you’re in an experience like this you’re going to play. You want to win the game. Obviously your focus will be there. I think regardless you want to perform and I’m sure they will too. The effort should be high and the pace should be high as well.

Patrick Marleau, on whether the team was excited to see the playing surface:
It was really exciting. Just getting here and then coming into locker room. The locker room was pretty cool. Some guys went out and checked [the rink] right away. I waited until I had my gear on because I to go out there right away as soon as I walked out. It’s pretty amazing. It’s my first time here. I think some of other guys have been here for a football game. It’s pretty impressive.

Marleau, on his reaction to seeing the stadium and stepping onto the ice:
Just, it’s going to be fun I think. That was the biggest thing I think, but also pretty cool to be able to play in front of that many fans and it’s going to be a great atmosphere and something I’ll remember, for sure, for a long time.

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