Comments from a the Q&A with coach Darryl Sutter following the Kings’ pre-game skate at Staples Center earlier today…
Q. When a team is winning at the pace your team is winning at, a lot of other teams might rest on their laurels, have letdowns here or there. Are they happening or is this team really not letting that happen?
SUTTER: Well, we try not to let it happen. There’s no way for me to have total control over that, obviously. Obviously we try to stick to the detail. We know it’s going to be low-scoring. We talk about getting better. We have to try to get better. That’s pretty much on a daily basis. There’s certainly things we can improve on from our last game.
Q. From Jersey to New York, the party continues. I feel there’s a Zen thing going on with you, all in the moment. Where did it all begin for you?
SUTTER: You ask Mark Spector. He knows I’m not one of them Zen guys. Where I come from, Zen, that’s…
Q. Darryl, speaking to a couple of your players, one of the big factors that changed when you arrived was game-day preparation, being ready the second you got to the rink. Did you recognize that had to change when you walked in the door here?
SUTTER: Well, you know what, when you have your best or elite players being young players, it doesn’t matter. It wasn’t recognized coming here. That usually is the biggest issue that a team has. Doesn’t matter. That would be my focus in terms of making sure that they understood we were only as good as our least-prepared player. That’s still the case. Doesn’t matter. It’s a tough game. The farther you go, it’s a tough game. Guys have to be ready to play in those hard areas. When they have those skill sets that most of these kids have, if they’re well-prepared for those sorts of areas, then their skill shines through. That was my biggest concern always with these guys.
Q. Can you speak of one of your qualities about being honest with the players, sometimes maybe having to be brutally honest about something. Also, what is it about coaching that you like the most?
SUTTER: Just one thing to make really clear. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with being brutally honest. Good coaches are fair to the group. Sometimes if the player doesn’t think that’s fair to himself, you know what, you’re doing what 15 of the players would like to be doing. So that’s clear. It’s about the team and it’s about the players, it’s very seldom about the coaches. When you have the right type of leadership, you have the right type of young players that understand that, learn to understand that, then it becomes a good team.
Q. What do you like most about being a coach?
SUTTER: Game day, no question. I said that when I wasn’t coaching. Just like a player, best part’s game day. What is that line that Junior Seau said? Plays the game for nothing, gets paid to practice. He’s dead on when you think about it.
Q. You’ve been pleased with the way you’ve kept people away from Jonathan in front of the net? How do you assess that?
SUTTER: You know, over the course of the playoffs, it’s been a point of emphasis. Other teams have said it, that’s been a point of emphasis for them.
The best way to keep players away from your net is for you to have the puck and not to play in your zone. If you’re always defending, it’s tough to keep guys away from your net all the time. If you have the puck, you’re not in your zone, that’s the best way.
Q. What changes from New Jersey to Los Angeles now with the series?
SUTTER: Well, you know what, I’ll tell you the same thing we talk to the players about. It’s two 2-1 games, overtime games. It could be easily 1-1, it could be easily 0-2, it could be 2-0. So what changes? I don’t think anything is going to change much either way. It’s still going to be good hockey games. When you watch it close, how good the detail is from your top players, that’s what you’ll continue to see.
Q. You have a number of young rookies on this team. This is a pretty big stage for them. How do you think they’ve handled themselves?
SUTTER: Talked after Game 1, there two days early, we talked Saturday, about Game 2, they’ve got their experience. They get it in a hurry. You know what, when you win rounds, players that haven’t played, they get their experience in a hurry. We were talking about six weeks ago with zero experience. We have kids now that played more playoff games than a lot of guys that played 10 years. That’s right when you think about it.
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