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Transcript: Jake Muzzin Media Call - April 28, 2020

by Staff Writer MapleLeafs /

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin spoke with the media via conference call earlier today.

Q (Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun): Can you comment on what the last six weeks have been like at home with your wife and some unscheduled time with your new baby daughter?

JAKE MUZZIN: It's been as good as it could be. I'm fortunate enough to have everyone healthy and happy. It's given me a chance to really bond with my daughter, which has been awesome. We spend most of the day together playing and doing whatever she wants to do, really. It's given me some opportunity to be at home and be with my wife and enjoy each other's company. We're fortunate, like I said, that everyone's healthy and happy and we're just trying to get through this like everyone else is.

Q (Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun): There's been some discussion about staging the rest of the season in one location, bringing some teams in. Some NHLers have expressed concern that that's a long way -- weeks or maybe even months -- away from their family. What have you thought of that idea as far as restarting the League goes and finishing off this season? 

JAKE MUZZIN: Yeah, I haven't thought too much about it. I do understand that you may be away from your family for a little bit. I feel like me, personally, we've been home for enough weeks now where maybe a few weeks away wouldn't hurt. It wouldn't be too big of a deal, but different people or different families are in different situations and some may be away, some may have to be in a different country than their loved ones, and that can be challenging, especially with families and young kids and stuff like that. So you can see both sides of it. There is obviously the other side where young guys are ready to play and itching to get back at it. I'm sure we're going to try to do what's best for players and we'll try and figure this thing out the best way we can.

Q (Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun): You were just about to get ready to come back from your hand injury. Can you tell us what kind of shape you're in physically and what have you been trying to do to keep busy?

JAKE MUZZIN: The hand is doing great; the body is feeling good. I'd say I'm pretty much 100 percent ready to go. I'm getting treatment and just working out, trying to stay ready like everyone else. As far as, like I said, the hand goes, it feels fine and it will be ready to go. A couple weeks on the ice before wouldn't hurt to get back and get some touches and feels and then should be ready to go whenever called upon.

Q (Chris Johnston, Sportsnet): Were you still going into the facilities after the season was paused and what was that experience like, if so?

JAKE MUZZIN: Yeah, I was able to come in and get treatment. The hand wasn't fully healed, but I was just getting the work that needed to be done on it. My strength and mobility is all back and we did what we had to do to get it back and we're ready to go.

Q (Chris Johnston, Sportsnet): Was it unusual to be in there in, I assume, a pretty limited environment compared to normal after the season was called off?

JAKE MUZZIN: It was definitely a different feel in here coming in and then only two people or three people, really. You have the whole arena to yourself. It's kind of an eerie feeling coming in, but I was actually lucky and fortunate enough to be able to get the treatment and the work that needed to be done to make sure I heal properly.

Q (Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun): For some people, Toronto isn't the place to be in terms of attention off-ice, that kind of thing. Did you feel that it was the right decision based on the fact that the team is turning it around and you're able to make the contribution there? Did that outweigh any thoughts you had about playing in this kind of market?

JAKE MUZZIN: Oh yeah. The direction the team is going, the personnel, the people, the organization and the buzz in the city is all -- there's way more positives than negatives. We wanted to be here, and we felt the team wanted me to be here and I'm glad and we're really fortunate that we got a deal done before all this happened.

Q (Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun): Have you had much talk with any other teammates? How are you keeping in touch with any of the guys or the coach or Kyle Dubas?

JAKE MUZZIN: We've got group chats and Zoom meetings and phone calls. whether it be about updates on the NHL or the PA or just in general talking about how we can come out of this and be a better team or we're just making fun of each other in the group chat as well. We've kept in touch and kept trying to make it feel like we we're still kind of together a little bit through social media or Zoom whatever it may be. We've all had a part in trying to stay together through this time.

Q (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): Have you had a chance to look back at the first 70-odd games? You sort of became a locker room conscience for the team. You guys obviously had a lot of ups and downs. Just your reflections on the first 70 games and what you guys went through.

JAKE MUZZIN: It's not easy. You go through ups and downs throughout the season and you throw a coaching change in there and a different mind comes into the room and guys need to react and maybe change a little bit, so I thought as a whole, we handled the situation and the whole season pretty good. Obviously, there's room for improvement and we're looking at our games now and trying to get better while we can right now, looking at the games and reflecting on certain areas of the game that we can improve on. Like I said about the contract, I'm excited about the group here -- the personnel, the people. I think we have a bright future and we're excited to get back at it and make a run here.

Q (Josh Clipperton, The Canadian Press): How long did it take you and your family to be comfortable here? You're not from too far away, but just like everything, how long did it take you to personally feel comfortable?

JAKE MUZZIN: Me personally, it took a couple months. I had never been traded before, going into a new situation so it was kind of a different experience for me. But the way the guys accepted me last year and accepted my wife and the way the organization accepted our family into the group was unreal. It really made the transition as smooth as it could be. Coming in this year when we kind of felt that we were at home. We got over the initial shock of being traded and being in a new city and kind of growing some roots here. I feel like we've done that, and we're excited for the next four years here.

Q (Mike Zeisberger, Are there any specific exercises even like grabbing a stick and a tennis ball or something that you can do to at least keep trying to work it up for when you get back on the ice?

JAKE MUZZIN: Yeah, we were able to come in and do the physio and the strength and the mobility and all the steps we needed to do like it was almost normal to come back from an injury. I'm very happy with where my hand is at. I feel like if we were starting to play a few weeks ago I'd be good to go. We've done a good job in here getting it ready and there's no concern really on it.

Q (Mike Zeisberger, What kinds of things are you doing at home to keep the hand or the rest of you in shape?

JAKE MUZZIN: Just at-home workouts and walks with the dogs. We have a newborn -- she's a year old a few weeks ago now -- so she's been keeping us busy. Like I said, I've been able to come into the rink and do the stuff that needed to be done to ensure the strength and the body is ready to go. Like everyone we're trying to get through this time and we're all going through tough times here. We've been lucky, the NHL has looked after players that were hurt before that they're able to get the treatment that they needed to get done and I was lucky to benefit from that.

Q (Luke Fox, Sportsnet): How would you assess the impact the trade for Jack Campbell made on the team both on the ice and off?

JAKE MUZZIN: Yeah, it was a huge impact and a huge positive impact. He came in and he's a guy that works extremely hard, his work ethic one of the best I've seen in the NHL. He came in and did a great job and got us a few wins that were needed. He's given Fred a break mentally and physically. He gives the team that confidence back there that he's going to go out and perform and give us a chance to win every time he's in the net.

Q (Luke Fox, Sportsnet): Because you had known him prior, did Kyle or anyone pick your brain about him before the trade was made?

JAKE MUZZIN: Yeah, we talked briefly about some things. I'm not going to get into the details or anything like that. We talked a little bit about him and what he brings, yeah.

Q (Luke Fox, Sportsnet): Could you imagine what the free agents heading into this offseason might be feeling just with the uncertainty of the economy, not just in the NHL but everywhere?

JAKE MUZZIN: Yeah, it's bad. It's the uncertainty of an unknown that I think would be in the back of your mind. I don't know if guys aren't going to get what they think they should get or if it's going to be fine, or if something is going to drastically change. Maybe you have to structure a deal differently. I don't know. I think that, for me, I don't have that, because, like I said, I was fortunate enough to get a deal done before. Or maybe everything's going to be fine. I don't know and I think that's just the unknown and the uncertainty of what's going to come in the future. I think that would weigh on me, and I think it's weighing on some guys, yeah.

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