It’s simplistic to say rookie defenseman Jake Muzzin cost the Kings a game Thursday night in San Jose. Muzzin certainly put the Kings in jeopardy by retaliating after the Sharks’ Andrew Desjardins leveled Colin Fraser with a hard shoulder check behind the net in the second period. The Sharks scored two power-play goals after Fraser was penalized, riding that momentum to an eventual 4-3 victory.
However, there was no one in the Kings’ dressing room Friday who faulted Muzzin.
In fact, Fraser praised him for coming to his defense despite the fact that Muzzin was penalized five minutes for fighting, two minutes plus 10 more for instigating the fight and an additional two for fighting while wearing a protective visor. (More on this issue in a separate posting).
“I think it’s great,” said Fraser, who skated during the Kings’ optional practice Friday and reported no lingering problems after Desjardins’ hit. “You’ve got to have guys sticking up for teammates. It brings teams closer together. (Mike) Richards has done it in the past.”
What’s more, Fraser didn’t blame Desjardins for cracking him on the play.
“It was a big hit,” Fraser said. “It was a clean hit. I kind of put the onus on myself to know he’s coming. If it was the other way around, I probably would have done the same thing. I’m a big boy. I can take a big hit. It didn’t feel good, but I’m OK. I’m OK today.”
The Kings face the Sharks in a rematch Saturday night at Staples Center.