As reported earlier today, Bernie Nicholls was an on-ice guest at Kings practice this morning. He knows new coach Darryl Sutter well, having played for him with two different organizations – then, sticking around to ‘help out’ with the Sharks after he retired.
We already took a look at what Nicholls had to say about his former coach. Now, we turn to some comments from Sutter and Kings center Anze Kopitar about today’s ‘consultant’…
“He’s a good resource to have, you know,” said Sutter. “We’re a team that’s still trying to find our way, to contribute more individually, offensively. I coached him in Chicago and San Jose and I obviously know what he can offer. He’s in town and available, so it’s nice to have that. We have Nelson Emerson in here too when he’s available and not out on the road. He can help us. It’s good to have.”
Like Nicholls, Sutter wasn’t clear how long Bernie would be around, only saying, “I’d like him to watch a couple games. He knows some of the young guys. He can help them a little bit.”
When asked if he planned on bringing in any other guys from his past, Sutter said, “It’s awesome to have those guys that you’re comfortable with and that know the game. Why not? Why not use that resource when you have it? If you’ve been around long – heck, I was talking to Jimmy (Fox) about stuff the other day. You know what? That’s what it’s about. It’s not about having the blinders on. It’s about using everything you can.”
Kopitar has gotten to know Nicholls a little bit over the past few seasons, as the Kings’ single-season goal leader (70 goals back in 1988-89) has been around more – including going with the team to Europe earlier this season.
After practice today, Kopitar said, “It’s nice to have him out there. Obviously he has scored plenty of goals. Always when you have a guy on the ice with us, especially of his caliber, it’s nice and it’s fun to see him coming out too…Obviously he’s trying to give me some pointers, and through those pointers I kind of try to respond and tell him what I see on the ice, if the plays are there or not. If you have a conversation like that with Bernie, or anybody, it always helps and always gives you something to think about and try in a game.”
To read Bernie’s full quotes – and they were plentiful – click here now.