Pre-game Sutterisms – comments from morning skate

Comments from Kings coach Darryl Sutter following the team’s morning skate on Wednesday…

On the last game against Detroit being a kick-start for the recent success and what he liked about that game: “Basically, we responded when we played Detroit, right? It’s natural, not natural, but when you win a faceoff in the last few seconds, and you still lose the game on that faceoff, it can pull your team down. So it’s not anything about what happened that night, it’s how we responded the next night in St. Louis. That’s why we’re, quite honestly, a good club – because we’re resilient like that.”

On despite the loss, seeing it as a starting point for this year’s group: “We might look back at it that way if we didn’t get a point and finished ninth. So, I’ll tell you in two months. I mean there’s no starting points or finishing points in this season. Whatever happened last game, it’s over. That’s the way this season is. If you dwell on anything bad from last night, you aren’t going to be any good tonight. That’s the way a tight, 48-game schedule is, you can’t dwell on anything other than your next game. To try to find two or three good things to carry on, you have to trust your team. Which I try and do. So that’s the only thing I take out of that game.”

On still having to tweak rest and practice time with the heavy workload: “Yes, absolutely. Because you know you have to get a really good feel for your team. And from travel, and seeing guys travel, you get a really good read on your team in terms of the energy level. Like yesterday, we played the night before, and you could see that we didn’t quite have the energy. So you want to get them reloaded for tonight. We’re (giving) some guys 20 minute practices, some guys 40 minutes. I’m just managing it differently than any other time.”

On seeing the lack of energy in the little things like face-offs and back-checking: “Yup, big time. The top players at the end of shifts, how you’re using them and their ice times. A lot of the top guys are on power play, penalty kill and they’re taking face-offs. We’ve cut back, other than the injuries on the back end, we’ve had to play Drew and Robbie more than obviously we’d like. But up front, we’ve tried to pull (back). Guys are 2-3 minutes down. But you know it’s like somebody was talking about depth, well depth doesn’t really friggin’ matter unless your top guys are performing at a high level, cause depth just means deep. If the top guys aren’t performing at a high level, it doesn’t matter how much depth you have. You’re going to win and lose with your top guys, and then your depth comes in. So that’s the biggest thing, I think, from what I’ve seen so far.”

On the difference with the Red Wings now that Niklas Lidstrom is gone: “They’ve played a little bit more of a push game. You know they played a little bit more of a controlled game with Nicklas was playing 30 minutes, right? So they don’t have a guy calling all the plays and making all the plays, slowing it down. So they’re playing a little bit more of a push-the-play type (of game). Quite honestly, Datsyuk and Zetterberg – this team has scored 57 goals and they’re in on 47 of them. So, they’re still pretty central figures as to what’s going on. And then Brunner probably doesn’t get enough respect. He’s got 10 goals. So that’s a significant number in the league when two guys are – they’re not a high scoring, dominant team offensively, but when those guys are in on that many goals it’s significant. Also, when their power play hasn’t been a dominant power play like before, and they’re still (scoring), it tells you what an impact those two guys have.”

On the challenges of bringing Ellerby up to speed during a compacted schedule: “It’s not just on-ice that you’re working with him and it’s just not Ellerby, specifically. We’ve got four guys with limited experience. It’s not ‘breaking them down’ – it’s about building them up more than breaking them down. They don’t just learn by doing it, right? They learn by watching it or talking with other players or talking with other coaches. So I think they’re all pretty much the same. We need Robbie to lead by example, and for the other five guys – whoever’s in, the five guys – not to use inexperience as an issue.”

On the types of questions from Ellerby in a new system versus questions from Muzzin who has been in the system: “Well Muzzin played here two years ago or whenever it was. I don’t think (it’s about) where they played – it’s that you’re playing against a different level of people. Keaton hasn’t played that much. He’s played a few minutes down in Florida, right? The Eastern Conference is significantly different than the Western Conference.”

On the 7:00 start changing preparation: “No, we just have to remember it, right? We’ve had so many different start times – noon, 1, 7, 7:30. If you look at it, it’s crazy. We just gotta remember it…I’m fine. I don’t like noon, I don’t think anybody does. But, like last week, when we played in Edmonton and Calgary; those were long days. Two eight o’clock games. Guys want to get going. That’s part of the deal though right? There’s nothing we can do about it.”

On another game being played earlier: “Yup, they finish that one then kick ours off. Still the best thing about being out west is you can start watching games at four. You can watch games until you go to bed. Four different games. Last night was awesome because they started in the east and came all the way across, finished all the way over (in Vancouver and San Jose).”

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