Once the closing credits roll on Epix’s Road to the NHL Stadium Series finale Tuesday night, a book can be closed on one of the more revealing looks on the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks’ closed-door operations.
“Yeah, thank God. I can be myself,” Jake Muzzin joked.
He has been, as has virtually every subject in the realistic look at life within a National Hockey League dressing room during the dog days of a long season. And while the inner workings of a room as tight knit and insular as the Kings’ was revealing, make sure to hit record on the DVR and remember as much as you can. It’s not likely to happen again, at least not in any hallucination of the near future.
“It was fun,” Muzzin continued. “It’s something that the NHL and the fans get to see a little extra of what it’s like being around here, guys away from the rink. I know the camera crew probably didn’t get the most footage away from the rink with our group because we’ve done it before and it’s not as big a priority as some of the other teams who maybe want to – maybe not a ‘priority’ – but [teams who] want to do stuff away from the rink for the camera, so it was a lot of on-ice footage and hockey footage and at the rink footage, but it was fun. The guys there are awesome, good crew.”
According to Muzzin, the crew will help produce HBO’s 24/7 content in the lead-up to the upcoming Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight.
“They’re going to do Floyd, so they’re going to be in Vegas for the next while until May 2nd, I think the fight is,” Muzzin said. “I’m sure Darryl’s happy that they’re gone.”
Of course, with the Stadium Series game and the reality television series in the rearview mirror, it’ll be a little bit quieter around the Kings’ parts.
“It’s probably a good thing to just focus on hockey,” Matt Greene said. “I think this is a fun time of year. We’re playing every other day and every game means a lot. This is a good time. I don’t think you need to add any excitement from outside.”
And that’s not to say that any focus was lacking, or that he viewed having extra media in the team’s rooms as a nuisance.
“The EPIX crew, good dudes,” Greene said. “They’re fun people, fun people to be around.”
Matt Greene, on adjustments to defensive zone coverage:
I think the forwards have been doing a good job of helping out with coverage. I think it a lot with backchecking and not giving up chances off the rush and getting pucks out of our zone faster.
Greene, on any extra “excitement” with the trade deadline approaching:
Just making sure that we’re trying to lock down a playoff spot here, that’s it. You can control what you can control and that’s it.
Greene, on how the team has handled the absences of Slava Voynov and Mike Richards:
It doesn’t matter what it is. You go with the lineup you have at the time. Whoever is healthy, whoever is playing and guys have to step up if they’re playing minutes that they normally don’t.
Greene, on the feeling at ice level during the Stadium Series game:
It’s quiet. I think you notice it more walking out to the rink and walking out of it for intermissions. You notice how big the crowd is and kind of the roar of the crowd. Everything kind of happens on a delay. You score a goal and it’s almost quiet for five seconds, and then you hear the roar. But it was fun, it was a cool experience but it’s definitely a lot quieter than playing in a stadium atmosphere, arena I guess.
Greene, on only playing one game at the SAP Center in San Jose:
It doesn’t matter where we play those guys. It’s always going to be high intensity. It’s good, we’ll take it.
Greene, on forwards and defensemen to work together in the defensive zone:
It was a strong focus on it from the coaches and guys are playing well. Just having our center a little bit lower in the zone, I think. Those guys are doing a good job for us. It makes all the difference.
Jake Muzzin, on the team’s recent play in the defensive zone:
It’s not just the defense. It’s a full five, six guys in our zone being quick on the puck, hard on the puck, lots more talk. It makes it easier getting in and out quicker and limiting their zone time and getting more zone time for us because we’re fresher on the ice when we get it out quick.
Muzzin, on how the team has handled Slava Voynov and Mike Richards’ absences:
During the course of a season, there is always going to be injuries and suspensions and what have you. But that just opens up spots for other guys to step up and play the role. Guys have stepped up this year and we’re going to continue to need that as the year goes on.