The NHL returned to action recently, sending players to their respective bubbles—in Edmonton in the West and Toronto in the East—to compete in rinks with no fans. Still, quiet hockey is better than no hockey.
But before COVID-19 mucked the schedule up, Vegas Golden Knights teammates Marc-André Fleury and Mark Stone took a half-day out of their pre-post-mid-whatever season to goof around on the ice with one of Apple’s new iPhone 11s. In the Shot on iPhone 11 Pro video spot, which was just released, the two stars and friends are seen taping the phone to various surfaces—skates, boards, sticks, posts—and playing around while filming. It’s fun seeing the two buds goofin’ it up, and the footage does look pretty, well, pro.
Complex Canada's Alex Narvaez got ahold of the two Marks to chat about the new iPhone, the interrupted hockey season, pranking their teammates, and more.
You had your first game back yesterday. How was that?
Stone: It’s good to get back. I mean, obviously a little different. No fans in the building, but we ramped up pretty good at the end of it. I thought our team did a great job of kind of getting that urgency and getting back ready.
How does it feel to play with no fans?
Marc-André: For me it was a little weird. I thought it seemed brighter than reality... the TVs and having the covers on the seats in the bottom rows. It seems very bright in there. It was weird, though. No noise. Nobody yelling at me or cheering for us, so it was definitely different. But once the game is going on, you don’t really notice it or see a big difference, you know? You’re just so into the game, so you don’t really notice it too much.
Mark Stone, you’re known for your celebrations when you score. How do you feel it’s going to be with no fans in the stands? Are your celebrations going to be the same, that full of energy?
Stone: I’m competing for the Stanley Cup, so they’re probably going to be pretty excited. [Laughs.] I mean, yesterday when we scored the first goal, I hadn’t celebrated in so long, so trying to get the bench riled up a little bit... we’ll see. I’m not going to be jumping into the glass or anything, but we’re still competing for the Stanley Cup, so if I score a goal I’m going to get pretty fired up.
What was it like during isolation for these last few months? Were you guys in contact as a team? What was the communication like?
Stone: I think most of the guys stuck around, actually. Like, no better place to spend a quarantine you could say than Vegas. Great weather. Lots of guys who stuck around, hung out… it’s such a good team, it would’ve been a shame if we didn’t get a chance to at least try and win the Stanley Cup.
Tell me about the Edmonton bubble. It’s a new experience for everyone, all the teams staying in one place together. What’s that like?
Fleury: It’s a little weird. We haven’t played a best out of seven yet, but I think that might get a little weirder when you battle with a team every night and you see them in the elevator or walking down the hall. But like Mark said earlier, it’s like one of those tournaments when you were younger, or the world championships or something like that. It’s still good. We have a big room that we can all go to watch TV and play some pingpong and eat together. We get to spend a lot of time together, so that’s nice.
What are the go-to activities while you’re hanging out?
Stone: Just watching TV, basically. [Laughs.] Netflix. Not really a big gamer, so I’ve just been hanging out. Checking Twitter, checking hockey games. It’s been nice to have some sports back.
What’s your go-to on Netflix?
Stone: I’ve been watching a bunch of movies lately. Canadian Netflix has better movies. I watched Big Daddy I think yesterday. That’s a great movie.
Marc-André, you’re known for your pranks. Now that you’re all together, do you have any pranks that you’re scheming up?
Fleury: Uhh... [Laughs.] I don’t know if I can say. I might get caught right away.
Stone: That was a “yes.”
Fleury: It’s tough, too, because there is good security around the hotel. It’s not like I can get into a guy’s room easily, so I’ve got to be a little more clever to find something good.
For both of you, what’s the best prank you’ve been a part of or witnessed by another player?
Stone: I’m not really a prankster. I don’t like getting pranked, so if I prank somebody I know they're going to get me back. I usually stay out of it.
Fleury: I think we had some team ones in Pittsburgh, but they’re not made for TV or radio... I remember a few when I first started. I didn’t really know much about pranks, but I really started liking it. Some guys would go into their locker and nail their dress shoes to the locker on the shelf so he couldn’t take it off. Another time, he came back and his shoes were all painted red and yellow I think. After a game, a guy comes out and he’s got all the buttons on his shirt all cut off so he can’t tie it. Or the underwear with some Red Hot... so a little burn. And in helmets too.
Stone: I’m glad I didn’t play in the early 2000s . [Laughs.]
To celebrate the return of the NHL season, you guys teamed up with Apple to create this shot-on-iPhone film. Tell me a little about that experience. It seemed like you had a blast creating it, and the final product looks like so much fun.
Stone: It was an awesome day for us. There were little things we got to do and experience and understand just how amazing the incredible things this little device can do. So simple but yet so in-depth. That a guy like me who isn’t really tech-savvy can put together such a great video, was pretty awesome.
Fleury: It was a good day. Maybe 8 hours long, but it felt pretty quick. I was happy that we could do it together. To be shooting with somebody you know and a teammate is always more fun and you’re more at ease. And Apple obviously brought some props and had some ideas of what they wanted, but they also let us play with it and have some fun with it. I thought the shoot went well and was fun. And like Mark said, the first time we saw the video of our first take on the phone, it was just amazing the clarity of the video and how good Apple is at making it simple and easy for us.
Yeah, it seemed like you were able to get some really cool angles, just with the hockey tape.
Stone: It was wild. I taped the first iPhone to my stick and kind of stick handled around with it on my stick, and I was kind of skeptical obviously. I was like, there’s no way this is going to pick up anything quality, and you watch the camera after and it’s just fascinating how great these things work.
In the spirit of cameras and hockey, let’s talk about hockey films. I’m going to present you guys with a couple options and I want you to tell me which is the ultimate hockey film of all time. So Slapshot from 1977, The Mighty Ducks from 1992, Miracle from 2004, or Goon from 2011?
Fleury: To me, Slapshot. Just growing up on it. Classic lines. It was translated to French. That’s the first time I watched it, with Quebec people, right? The slangs they used, the swears they used were just perfect. Then I watched it in English many years later and it was still a lot of fun and very funny to watch. So, to me that was my first hockey movie I liked.
Stone: I love all those movies, but for me, I watch The Mighty Ducks... I’ve probably seen those movies over 1,000 times. Those are like my favourite movies. I didn’t want to be any NHL player; I wanted to be Charlie Conway and Adam Banks. I love those movies. Those are my classics.
I know the NHL isn’t enforcing dress code this season, so I wanted to ask what are you guys showing up to games in these days?
Stone: We’re showing up in our VGK gear. Represent.
Fleury: Yeah, we have some mostly coloured polos and dark pants. Keeping it clean and simple… you know, if you stick around for two months, that would’ve been complicated and a lot of clothing to think about.
In terms of music, I know a lot of athletes have pregame playlists they listen to to get pumped up. What do you guys listen to when you’re training or getting ready for a game?
Stone: I listen to a lot of different stuff. Last night in the lounge we were listening to some old-school stuff. We had Blink 182 rolling, The Offspring, a little bit of golden Green Day. Yesterday we were just kind of appreciating bands. A lot of the stuff now is DJs this, DJs that, so we wanted to throw it back and really appreciate a good band.
Fleury: I like all that stuff too. I’m not too picky about my music, but usually going into the game I like something with some beats. I don’t know, more EDM maybe.
Who are some EDM artists you’re listening to?
Fleury: I like Calvin Harris, Tiesto, stuff like that.
When you got your first big paycheck when you first went pro, what was the first thing you splurged on?
Stone: I bought a truck. A Chevy. I thought I needed a truck. I had got into the NHL, I needed a truck. That’s how it was in my head. I don’t know why.
Fleury: All my teammates told me what I needed to buy. I bought a laptop, an Xbox, and a watch, and then I bought my parents a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Let’s place a scenario: Mark Stone takes 10 penalty shots on Marc-André Fleury. How many are going in?
Stone: Marc’s pretty good, so…
Fleury: Yeah, you were pretty good at camp…
Stone: I’d say at a betting line you’d probably go with 3.5, but I’ll say 3. Thirty per cent. That’s league average.
Fleury: We’ll do it tomorrow and get back to you.