Maple Leafs’ Jake Muzzin says hand is ‘pretty much 100 percent ready to go’

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin said his hand is almost fully healed in a call with reporters Tuesday. He suffered a broken hand on Feb. 25 after absorbing a shot against the Tampa Bay Lighting.

“The hand is doing great. Today, it’s pretty much 100 percent ready to go, so getting treatment and just working out trying to stay ready like everyone else,” Muzzin said, hinting he could be back in the lineup if the 2019-20 NHL season restarts. “As far as the hand goes, it feels fine and it’s ready to go. A couple of weeks on the ice before wouldn’t hurt to get back and get some touches and feels.”

Since Muzzin was rehabbing an injury, he still had access to team facilities to continue getting treatment. It was a different feeling for him going into the arena.

“Yeah, obviously different feel in here,” he noted. “Coming here, there’s two, three people really and you have the whole arena to yourself. Kind of a weird feeling coming in, but I was actually lucky, fortunate enough to be able to get the treatment and the work needed to be done to make sure I heal properly.”

One day before his injury, Muzzin agreed to a four-year contract extension with the Maple Leafs. He explained his rationale for signing the new deal.

“The direction the team is going, the personnel, the people, the organization and the city itself,” the 31-year-old defenseman said. “There are way more positives than negative so we wanted to be here and we called the team on it for me to be here. I’m glad and we’re really fortunate that we got a deal done before all this happened.”

After being traded midseason last year by the Los Angeles Kings, Muzzin said it took a couple of months for him and his family to adjust to Toronto.

“I had never been traded before so I was going into a new situation so it was kind of a different experience for me,” he recalled, having grown up about a 90-minute drive outside Toronto in Woodstock, Ont. “The way the guys accepted me last year, accepted my wife and the way the organization accepted us as a family and as a group was unreal. They really made the transition as smooth as it could be.

“We kind of felt that we were at home. You know we got over the initial shock of being traded and being in a new city and kind of growing some roots here. I feel we’ve done that and we’re excited for the next four years here.” 

Muzzin, who has scored 39 points in 83 career games with the Maple Leafs, feels really fortunate to have signed his contract extension before the season was paused. He sympathizes with the pending free agents.

“It’s the uncertainty of these days. There’s an unknown that I think would be on the back of your mind,” he said. “I don’t know if guys get what they think they should get or this is going to be fine or, you know, something is going to drastically change. Maybe you have to structure a deal differently.

“For me, I don’t have that. I was fortunate enough to get a deal done before and so I thought maybe everything is going to be fine. I don’t know. That’s just the unknown and uncertainty over what’s going to happen.”

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