Flames’ Milan Lucic among many NHLers showing lighter side during shutdown

Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and Patrick Marleau are put to the test on their Zoom conference, to see just how much they know about each other.

Wearing his wife’s fur coat and a tuque that she bedazzled his number on, Milan Lucic made his public Instagram debut last week in dramatic fashion.

Having spent the previous 19 days binge-watching all eight seasons of Game of Thrones with his wife, the rugged Flames winger chose to offer up a video review, in modified costume.

“A lot of fans were asking me what I thought of Game of Thrones, so I put one of my wife’s fur coats on,” said Lucic, laughing.

“Jon Snow is one of my favourite characters and he wore fur, so I dressed it up a bit. The one mistake I did make is that it started to snow right after I took the video. I wish I would’ve done it outside in the snow because he’s up in a place called Castle Black in the north where it’s always snowing and cold. For people who watched the show, it would have added a lot to it.”

Rookie mistake.

The question now is, what will he do for an encore?

“I’m still thinking of ideas,” he chuckled. “Right now I’ve got nothing.”

Welcome to the club.

Milan Lucic channeled his inner Jon Snow by reviewing Game of Thrones in his wife’s fur coat on Instagram. (Photo courtesy: Milan Lucic)

Much like the rest of us, Lucic is adapting to life in self-isolation, spending his days at home in Calgary with his wife and three young kids.

On the weekend they decided to drive to his native Vancouver for a two-week stint at Tsawwassen’s Centennial Beach where the warmer weather and change of scenery should aid in their quest to stave off the monotony of avoiding COVID-19.

Still, daily arts and crafts shifts with his 2, 5 and 7-year-olds continue.

“Art was not my strong point, so I’m mostly there to provide and help them with any cutting, or gluing, or taping,” smiled the 230-pound softie, who ducks out for workouts in his home gym every time his son goes down for an afternoon nap.

“That’s what I’m there to do. We play board games and all that fun stuff, and every day we have at least 30 minutes to an hour of hide and seek. But my kids don’t really understand they shouldn’t go to the same spot over and over again.”

Cue more laughter.

With every passing day it seems more and more NHLers are revealing a much lighter side, as they bide time with their families, waiting for the novel coronavirus to stop its assault on the world.

Whether it’s a TikTok video, a funny tweet, home pics or a Facebook post, players are finding creative ways to showcase the personality that hockey players too often strive to keep hidden.

“That’s part of why I decided to get a public Instagram on Thursday – it’s just a way to keep interaction with fans and show a side of yourself they don’t really see,” said the author of Milan.lucic.17.

“Even Kevin Bieksa has done a couple posts and videos that are hilarious. That’s kinda cool to see because I had a ton of battles with him and never knew him as a guy. But then you see him doing stuff like that, it’s pretty funny to see a side of a guy you’ve never seen before.”

The examples continue.

“I’ve known Brendan Gallagher since he was 12 years old and the TikToks he’s done have been truly unbelievable,” he said.

“I’m sure a lot of guys didn’t even know how funny he was. I know a lot of people have said this, but I think that’s where our sport is a little behind compared to other sports. Look at NBA players, I feel like their social media followings and their personalities are a lot more out there than ours. Maybe this is a step for us as individuals and athletes to take in that direction.”

Case in point: who in the world could have imagined they’d see the likes of Darryl Sutter wearing a Mexican wrestling mask and holding two championship belts in anticipation of Wrestlemania, as posted by his son, Brett?

“I know he did that for his son, Chris, who is a huge wrestling fan,” said Lucic, 31, who played for the typically straight-laced Sutter in Los Angeles.

“Awesome.”

Whether it’s Matthew Tkachuk doing TikTok dance moves with his sister or Zdeno Chara outing Tuukka Rask for having bad gas, the recent re-emergence of the game’s personalities has provided refreshingly candid glimpses into the players’ lives.

Even the league’s regular Zoom video chats with three or four players have had lots of light-hearted content for sports-starved fans.

Plenty of Flames players painted themselves into a good light shortly after the NHL season was put on pause, when they donated to a GoFundMe page that raised money for laid-off Saddledome staffers.

“It was something me, and more so my wife, wanted to do because of how they treat her and my family on a night-to-night basis,” said Lucic, still optimistic the league will try to shoehorn in a conclusion to the season this summer. “It’s important because, at a time like this, you want to help the people that help you. I’m fortunate because I can still live normally because of the financial stuff, but there are a lot of people that don’t have that option.

“It was just a way to kind of get it going and I was really happy and excited a lot of guys followed suit right after, and we got it up to $82,000 in 48 hours. It was a good thing, not just for the players to step up, but everyone else to help.”

In between daddy duties, Lucic is now searching for the next series to binge-watch, and potentially critique.

Stay tuned.

“I’ve got to say, Game of Thrones is the best show I’ve ever seen,” said the winger-turned reviewer.

“From characters, the story… there’s a lot of violence and sex too in it. A big character will die off. The acting is really good. It’s just so well done.

“Before that, the one I liked the most was Sons of Anarchy.

Same thing, I liked the characters and the whole motorcycle thing. I got really into it. I even started looking up motorcycles after. And then I smartened up and was like, ‘listen, I don’t really need a motorcycle (to) fall off.’”

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