Rookie defenseman Jake Muzzin played in 45 of the Kings’ 48 regular season games. During that span he posted seven goals, 16 points and led the team with a plus-16 rating. He arguably deserved to be in the conversation for the Calder Trophy. He’s also gone on to patrol the blueline in 15 of LA’s 16 post-season games this year. Yet, like many young players, it’s the game he missed where he may have learned the most.
Following morning skate in advance of tonight’s Game 4 with the Blackhawks, we spent some one-on-one time with Muzzin to explore his ongoing development a little deeper. Here’s what he had to share..
On what he picked up from sitting out a game:
“Watched coming out of our zone, and stuff we need to do to get out of our zone quickly, and tried to apply that in Game 3. I think personally, I like to think we did a good job at it. When you get sat, you know you have to do better and come back with that attitude. I want to play and want to be better and I want to help this team win.”
On learning more about a team each night in the playoffs:
“When you play one team for a couple games, you learn what their tendencies are and what they want to do. Their strengths and their weaknesses and stuff like that. Beating St. Louis and then San Jose, and now with Chicago they’re a little bit more skilled group and we have to keep the puck out of their hands and stuff like that. You learn just stuff after one game, two games…you learn a little bit about them. It was big for us to see it on video and now we’re trying to take advantage of it.”
On his ‘mean streak,’ and if he patterns his game after Matt Greene at all:
“You can always continue to develop your game and grow as a player. Greener definitely has that role down pat. Being a physical presence out there and being a hard-ass to play against is where you want to be. Especially against skilled guys, they don’t like to play that kind of game, they want to have the puck on their stick and have room and have space to make plays. For us to be that kind of defenders is important for the team.”
On if it’s more challenging in the playoffs to find balance the between using his big shot and focusing on defensive responsibilities:
“Yeah, I mean, you want to be a good defender first, and that’s what you’re focused on. You want to limit the chances against and if your the guy who needs to provide offense then you need to try to do that as well. It’s been tough in the playoffs, the teams bear down, blocking shots, getting in lanes, taking away space on the blue line and stuff like that. So it’s something we have to continue working on, myself included, and try to create a little bit more action.”
We have plenty more coverage from morning skate already posted as well. See the links below.
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