Jarret Stoll Feeling Many Things; Returning for First Game vs Kings

Stoll Jarret WildEach player has a story. For some, it’s an ever-evolving one. And while the final chapter covering Jarret Stoll’s NHL playing career has yet to be written, one could argue the meat of his tale has perhaps already been written. Prior to two Stanley Cup victories as a member of the Los Angeles Kings, his journey took him from Melville, Saskatchewan to the WHL, on to Alberta, and then, eventually, a trade from the Edmonton Oilers to sunny Southern California. Now on the other side of those combined experiences, Stoll is about to return to Staples Center, where he will face the Kings for the first time since leaving the organization last summer.

In his first public comments since arriving back in town, Stoll shared the following thoughts with MayorsManor earlier today…

On the first half of this season:

“It’s kind of been a whirlwind, a little bit. Lots has happened, obviously. Going to New York – loved the city, loved the guys; It was a great team. We had high expectations there, and we came out of the gates strong, and then sputtered a little bit. Things happen. The fit wasn’t right there. It wasn’t probably a comfortable role for me to play. Fortunately, I got moved to Minnesota. It was great coming to an organization and a team that wants you and wants you in their lineup, and has a role for you. A good team; a good team that can make the playoffs, and has made the playoffs in the last, I think, four years. It’s kind of weird. We’re only 44 or 45 games in, and it seems like a lot has happened…and it has. But, [I’m] staying positive and working through it, trying to play well, consistently, and play my role, and do what they brought me in to do.”

On trying to fit into a locker room mid-season:

“You try to be yourself. You don’t want to come into a locker room and not be yourself and just kind of be quiet and lay back in the weeds. That’s not who I am. That’s not the personality I have. But, you don’t want to go overboard either. It’s their team. There’s guys who have been on that team and in that organization for a lot of years now. I just want to come in and bring my personality and bring my experience, and my game, to help that team. Just be positive. Be a guy coming to the rink every day, making sure everybody’s involved, everybody’s in the conversation, everybody’s having fun, focus when we have to be and make sure we’re prepared when we have to be. Just being myself.”

On having to be the new guy by himself, as opposed to when he came to Los Angeles with Matt Greene:

“It’s definitely harder. Going to New York, I didn’t really know too many of the guys. I roomed with Rick Nash actually in the World Juniors – that was years ago. I knew him a little bit. That’s all I really knew on the team. Hockey guys are very, very similar in a lot of ways. I think you know that. A lot of people know that. It’s good guys coming from a lot of the same backgrounds…just good people. There’s very, very few guys that I would call a cancer on the team, or a negative guy, or a guy you don’t really want to be around. There’s very, very few of those guys. Coming to Minnesota, I knew Devan Dubnyk a little bit from in Edmonton. As I was leaving Edmonton, he was just coming in. That’s really the only guy I knew on the Wild as well. Coming to L.A. with Greener was very easy. We all know what kind of guy he is and how he conducts himself, and the kind of personality he is. We just kind of fit right in, I think. And, you know, eight years ago, guys were just coming in, too. There was a new coaching staff that was just coming in. Doughty and Lewis were just coming in. I think that was Doughty’s first year. Brown and Kopitar were there. Very, very easy group to come in and start something, have something to work towards. I think we did that, definitely, in the eight years.”

On if he still keeps tabs on the Kings or if he is the type of guy to move on quickly:

“I think it’s a little bit of both. I do check the scores, I check the box scores to see if guys are doing well. If Carter scores, I’m going on the (NHL) app to watch the goal, stuff like that, and see if they’re winning or losing. You have to move on – you have to. It’s part of life, it’s part of sports, and I have. It’s just, you have a lot of good friends and a lot of good years with that organization, so you catch yourself checking online and see what’s happening for sure.”

On the emotions coming back to Southern California this week:

“I don’t know. It’s hard to describe. Landing here today, and we just had practice in Anaheim, so that was kind of a different experience, being with a different team. Playing in Staples Center is probably going to be kind of weird. I’ll be nervous for sure – I just want to have a good game, and I just want our team to play well and our team to win. They’re a very, very good team and we’re going to have our work cut out for us. It’ll be emotional – looking up at the two banners and thinking of all those memories and what we did on the ice there. Obviously, winning both championships on home ice is pretty cool. A very, very special feeling. There will be a lot of memories, a lot of things going through my head. It’ll be a battle to make sure I’m focused and ready to do what I have to do, to play the game, and to help our team win.”

On if he carries a chip on his shoulder, or had anything to prove, returning to play versus his former club:

“Not really. Everything’s been positive. Leaving the Kings, I have nothing bad to say about the organization, the team, or the guys. I just want to come in and play well. If I play well and show them what they’re missing, or what’s gone now, that’s great, but I’m not coming in with a chip on my shoulder. I’m just coming in wanting to play well, definitely want to beat ’em. Definitely wouldn’t mind seeing Darryl angry on the bench during the game. We can laugh about that one, for sure. Just want to come in and win. It’ll be weird, and interesting, definitely a lot of emotions, but don’t want to prove anything to anybody. Just want to play well.”

On if he’s thought about what the fan reaction might be like returning to Staples Center:

“I thought of it maybe a couple times, not really. I don’t know. It’s one of those things you never know. Could go one way, could go another way. I don’t know. I think it’ll be positive. I hope it’ll be positive. I put everything I had into the seven or eight years there. Still love the city. I’m still living in Hermosa Beach during the off-season. I hope it’ll be positive. The fans have been great right from day one. We had such a strong and loyal fan base, and I know it’s still there. I hope they’ll be alright.”

On what stands out, beside the two Stanley Cups, when reflecting on his time in Los Angeles:

“Definitely a lot of Darryl’s quotes I’m going to miss hearing his press conferences – “Park and ride!” – or some of the sayings he has. That Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach parade was such a great memory, as well. [Most] of the players will say the same thing. A lot of people in the crowd were our neighbors – our hairdressers, our dry cleaners, and people from the restaurants we usually go to, those types of people that we have personal relationships with – they were in the crowd. It was a more of a personal kind of parade. That was very special. Kind of going through our neighborhood. I look through some of those pictures still to this day and think of how much fun that was and how special that was.”

MORE WITH STOLL:

Jarret Stoll explains the art of tucking

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