What will Sutter say? Pre-game comments, Kings at Ducks

It doesn’t happen often, but it happened today.  The Kings took morning skate at the Honda Center in Anaheim.  Rather than bus down prior to the game, the team arrived yesterday following their win at home over the visiting Edmonton Oilers.  Although all players were at the arena today, only about half of them took to the ice.  Guys like Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Trevor Lewis, Mike Richards, Rob Scuderi and Justin Williams did some ‘off ice work’ with a soccer ball instead.  Following the roughly 40 minute session on the ice, here’s what coach Darryl Sutter had to share…

- On any concern about playing a back-to-back game against a division rival: “No, I don’t think so. Both teams are trying to accomplish the same thing, just win a game. I haven’t seen the rivalry part of it, quite honest. It’s probably because we haven’t played each other in the playoffs. That’s probably why. That’s usually what creates it.”

- On if the rivalry ramps up as both teams fight for a playoff spot: “Both teams’ goals going into the year were to be playoff teams, right? That’s really clear. When both teams have guys that have won Stanley Cups, then they deliver that. Look at the difference in the Ducks this year – the last half of the year last year, they were one of the best teams in the league, mostly because of Ryan and Corey, Stanley Cup winners. Look at their games, look at how they played the last half of the year last year, and they damn near made it again. And look at us – we didn’t have a lot of guys. We had Willie – Justin Williams – and Colin Fraser and guys that have won championships, right? So they know the importance of just making the playoffs. So that’s all it is. Divisional titles are just are just dirty banners in every rink. They don’t give you nothing.”

- On if the Kings have turned a corner since they last played the Ducks: “We haven’t ever had to turn a corner. We’ve played well. I mean, every team has three or four games they’d like to have back, right? It’s true. They’re the same. Everybody’s the same. Good teams just find a way not to let it bother them. Losses or bad games or wins haven’t affected how we play, and that’s a sign of your locker room, not anything else. And it’s true. Teams that don’t know how to respond to that stuff are teams that have a hard time.”

- On if the Kings owe the Ducks anything after the last game in Anaheim: “You asked it last night, and I couldn’t even care less. I couldn’t even remember most of it. I know we didn’t get goaltending, and as I said the other night when we played Minnesota, if you pull your goalie three or four minutes into a game, it has nothing to do with goaltending. It certainly has no bearing on anything. Even if you’re in a schedule where you don’t have three or four days, or any of that stuff, you know what? Your opponent is almost irrelevant. It’s how you play.”

- On if he’s concerned with players being fatigued due to the heavy schedule: “No.”

- On if the plan is to have Dustin Penner play on Tuesday when he’s available to come off IR: “We’ll push him today and tomorrow, and then see…We’ll have everybody play on Tuesday. Remember, there’s an unlimited roster. Whether he plays or not is not public knowledge, but as long as you’re under the cap after the trade deadline, you can have 40 guys. They’re all available.”

- On the fact he can’t play everybody though: “That’s right.”

- On if Robyn Regehr has provided what he expected through his first two games: “You know what, I haven’t coached him since ’05, that’s eight years. So, it does make a difference. You never change with guys like that, because the way they play, you know how they want to play. So, that’s the trust factor. But it’s still a big adjustment when you go from totally different, quite honest, different conference, different style of play, and then different team, different players, different coaching style. It’s an adjustment. If you ask him, he’ll tell you too, there’s little things that happen during a game… It’s not automatic. It’s a big adjustment for him, quite honest…We’ve tried to watch how we use him. He’s probably in right where he should be now. He played like another minute last night – that’s his minutes, right? He’s like (Francois Beauchemin) and (Sheldon Souray). If you use them too much, they’re not young guys”

- On Regehr playing with Drew Doughty: “I think between Muzz, it depends on the time and score. Muzz and Robyn will both play with Drew.”

- On if part of Regehr’s adjustment has been now playing in ‘meaningful games’: “What is a ‘meaningful game’? I’ve heard that the last two or three games. Who said that? I kind of think Robyn’s played in a lot of ‘meaningful games’. He’s won gold medals… That’s what every player in the locker room wants to be in, is be in a playoff race, for sure. That’s why they train, they’re proud guys.”

- On if Jonathan Bernier has improved or is just getting better results: “Bernie last year played to give Quick a rest. And it wasn’t what he wanted, in terms of games played, and it wasn’t how he wanted to play, either. He came out after he won. He was awesome for us, quite honest, in the locker room, and I’ve said that a lot. He was important as guys that didn’t play one game. I think that’s how he was in the locker room, because for a kid he was really professional, really mature, and he handled everything so well. And this summer, after he won it, then he came out and he wanted to be a number one guy. So why not? Quite honest, the teams that are doing well have used two goalies. Chicago, Anaheim and Los Angeles. He’s a high pick…and a kid that if you went back to when he was 18 and 19, that’s what he was seen as, as a guy that could be a number one goalie. Not everybody gets that, right? Not everybody has that on them. They’re looked at as a good support guy or something like that. But Bernie wants to be a number one. Hey, look at the Ducks. You know what? They brought a guy over that’s 30 years old that maybe eight years ago nobody said he’d be a number one goalie in the NHL, and now maybe he is. Hey, you think about the age and experience, what it does to players. And that’s good for the kids, right, because in the long run it’s good for their careers.”

RELATED ARTICLE: Dean Lombardi on acquiring Robyn Regehr – how, the price, etc.

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