Happy off day, Insiders!
A little look behind the scenes at some New York specific trips taken by Kings players over the last few days!
Forward Phillip Danault and defenseman Sean Durzi were guests at the NHL offices in Manhattan, while defenseman Mikey Anderson and forward Quinton Byfield visited the NHL Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey. I was able to follow Danault and Durzi throughout their experience, which included a few different elements to it.
The group grabbed a coffee and walked into the NHL offices, where they were greeted by a league staff member who ecorted them up into the five-floor building, located just a couple of blocks from Madison Square Garden. The first stop on the tour was a trip into the Player Safety room, where they were able to talk with a staff member from that department and ask a few questions as it pertained to disciplinary practices, rules and the like. A few “don’t show this part of the tour” moments in here, but both guys seemed to enjoy the chance to look behind the scenes a bit. Perhaps more so since neither have been suspended by the league!
From there, the players had an opportunity to meet with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a closed-door meeting. An opportunity for the guys to speak in a relaxed setting with the head of the league, ask questions they’re interested in the answers to and pick their brains a bit. They met for 20-30 minutes and Danault walked out confident the 1-on-1 overtime idea he crafted earlier in the day would make its way into the league soon (just kidding, maybe).
From there, a few content requests from the NHL. Durzi and Danault played a game where one player had to call a teammate on speaker phone, but had noise-cancelling headphones on so they couldn’t hear. The second teammate had to act out the conversation for them. Drew Doughty didn’t pick up when Durzi called, but Danault got Trevor Moore on the line for a few minutes and carried the conversation surprisingly well. Even made dinner plans he didn’t know about. Danault also made a TikTok for the league, though the spelling is the extent of what I actually know about TikTok. Both players then spoke with NHL.com writer Jon Lane in an interview about themselves, the mentorship Danault has shown this season and how their relationship as teammates has grown.
Finally, a bubble hockey showdown to end the day. The teams on the table were the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, though oddly enough it was Durzi who took the Habs and Danault who took the Leafs. Danault jumped out to an early, 2-0 advantage as he scored exactly the kinds of goals he scored 27 of last season – right in front of the net. A strong goaltending performance from plastic Carey Price kept it close until Durzi buried one early in the third period, though Danault held on for the win with a late one.
Additionally, Anderson and Byfield visited the NHL Network studios for a tour of the facilities, as well as a live, televised hit. NHL Network and MLB Network share a studio space, which includes a small whiffleball field. Not sure if the highlight reel reflected the performance of the players or not, but looked like Anderson got the better of the cuts in, though Byfield popped a bullet out to left in there as well.
The newly-extended Anderson and the emerging Byfield made for strong interview candidates on the network, as two players are excelling on the ice and bringing personality in their approach to the conversations. The full interview is available below.
That’s all for today, Insiders! An off day here in New York for the team, a well deserved one in Todd McLellan’s eyes.
“It’ll be a good day for the guys. They played three in four nights now, with some travel against heavy teams that are competitive. Three of six points on the roadtrip, average so far. Enjoy the day, get some rest and see what we can do in the next two.”
For myself, a day close to home, spent with friends and family. Talk tomorrow!
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