Jabber Jaws: 2023 End of the season interview with Luke Kunin

Luke Kunin talks about his season-ending injury, his offseason recovery plans and his work with JDRF.

Jabber Jaws: 2023 End of the season interview with Luke Kunin
Photo by Mark Landman / Unsplash

Luke Kunin was expected to factor into the Sharks' lineup a lot more last season, but 31 games into the season, he was sidelined with an injury. In December, Kunin underwent surgery for a torn ACL, but he's optimistic that he'll be back on the ice soon and ready for training camp.

Kunin on how his rehab is going

"Good. Rehab's going really well. Right on track for what we want. So, it's a long process. Just trying to stay as positive and up as I can, but so far so good."

"I mean, that's the goal, obviously, be ready for the start next year, but not trying to focus on that. Just one day at a time. Just trying to put good days together."

Kunin on whether his previous knee injury has helped him cope with this injury

"I don't ever think it's easy. Whether you have the same surgery or not. I think, you know, every situation is different. You know everything can go right and you know there's still different things that come up and you gotta, you know, kind of battle through, but something that's this long of a process, I think, you know, there's going to be, you know, same as a season those ups and downs and just same kind of thing just be as consistent even keel have more good days than not and pieces together. So that's been my mindset."

Kunin on if he's skating yet

"I think we'll get on the ice here soon. But yeah, just you know, kind of starting over, just getting that strength back and you know...there's different sections throughout the rehab, I guess, of things you can do. You just got to work your way out but yeah, long days, but like I said, it's going good."

Kunin on how he's doing mentally

"It's never easy. I mean, we all want to play. It's not easy to watch hockey games. You know, especially when you're losing too. You want to be out there and help. Yeah, mentally, it's tough. I think that's, you know, just as hard as the physical part of this kind of injury, but my head's in a good spot, feeling good and excited for next year."

Kunin on whether he learned anything watching the last half of the season

"I don't know. I think you definitely see some things when you're watching. It's a much easier game watching from, you know, on the couch, watching on TV or sitting in the stands than it is on the ice. So, maybe a few things here or there but you know, the guys were working hard and a lot of challenges obviously that you know, we had to go through this year but I thought you know, all in all, it was good work ethic, and, you know, the compete was there every night. But it's a result-based business. We got to, obviously, find ways to win that's not good enough."

Kunin on where the Sharks improved the most

"I don't try to focus too much on that, you know, management and coaches. I think they have a good plan in place. You know, I just try to focus on me getting healthy and what I can do and what I can bring to the team and hopefully be a big part and help out."

Kunin on what he brought to the team during his playing time this season

"Obviously, it was, you know, a short little time, I think 31 games, but yeah, just trying to compete and, you know, bring that energy and different elements that I don't think we have too much of as far as my style of game to this team. I think I did that when I was playing. And yeah, you know, we had a good chat right after the injury...what he liked and you know what to do moving forward. So I think we're in a good spot."

Kunin on what management liked about his game

"I think, you know, everything he [Grier] thought he was getting, you know, he saw that and just want to keep growing, keep helping turn it around."

Kunin on what he tries to teach younger players about competing in the NHL

"I think that's it, is consistency. I think that's one of the biggest things, you know, to play in this league and to play for a long time. I think, you know, you see all these guys that do it for so long. They're just consistent. You know, just the way they go about their business every day. Just doing the right things, never taking a day off and you know, the highs and lows throughout the season, just trying to be as even keel as you can, you know, through those highs and lows."

"And you know, we do have a lot of young guys. I think, you know, as the season went on, more young guys were coming up so I wasn't really a part of that too much. But just trying to help you know, in any way I can. Just show 'em the ropes of you know, what it means to be a pro and, you know, do things the right way. I think that's a big thing for me to help with this organization."

Kunin on living in San Jose

"It's been great. I love it here. Love the organization and my teammates. You know, obviously, an unfortunate year with how everything went but you know fans are great, community is great and looking forward to be more part of it next year."

Kunin on his work with JDRF (an organization that raises funds for research into type 1 diabetes)

"Yeah, it was great. You know, it's always fun to talk to the kids and families and everything after the game. You know, it's such an easy thing for me to do that I think goes a long way and like I've talked about before, if I didn't have that at such a young age, I don't think I'd be you know, standing up here so it's something near and dear to my heart pretty special and really happy to do it."