Comments from Kings coach Darryl Sutter following the team’s morning skate in advance of Game 4 vs. the Chicago Blackhawks…
Q. The other day you ruled out Richards fairly early in the day. Can you give any kind of update?
“He didn’t skate today, so he won’t play tonight.”
Q. How was he after skating yesterday? Can you give us an update on how he was feeling after the ice yesterday?
“Protocol is very clear. You guys have covered enough concussions surely that you know the protocol, so…”
Q. Luc Robitaille, Wayne Gretzky, Slava Voynov, most playoff game-winning goals. Is this some strange phenomenal we’re seeing here?
“I wish there were some other guys on our team that had more game-winning goals. I wouldn’t say it’s goofy, but we put him in position to succeed a lot. Quite honestly, he’s had more opportunities to shoot the puck than most guys on the team the way it’s set up for him. We expect him to take full advantage of it.”
Q. Do you see any parallels in the way you have had success the last two years, the way the Bruins have had success in terms of a physical, responsible game?
“I think the last two teams that won the Stanley Cups play great team games. They get a contribution from everybody in the lineup. It’s not about one player. You have to be able to play a 200-foot game. You have to be disciplined in all three zones. Stay out of the penalty box. You can play a physical game without taking penalties. In fact, I haven’t looked the last few days, but I know we’re one of the lowest penalized teams in the league. It has a big impact on other teams’ top players, your ability to defend.”
Q. Would you give us your thoughts on your power play so far against the Blackhawks.
“Lots of opportunities, and not finishing.”
Q. With Duncan Keith out of the lineup for them, how can you now take advantage of that?
“Chicago’s the best team in the league this year, not based on one player. In fact, Duncan Keith’s minutes were cut back substantially this year to allow them to be a fresh team every night. Probably one of the reasons they were the best team in the league by a longshot was the fact that their defense was healthy. I think if you look at it, Duncan and Seabrook and Hjalmarsson and Oduya either played 46, 47, 48 games, and probably one of those was resting for the playoffs. Don’t put a whole lot of stock in that. We’ve done that already, nobody’s talked about it. When you do the minute comparables in terms of guys that are valuable to our team, we played a whole year without a third of our defense and won the Stanley Cup last year, the whole year. I don’t think we’re too concerned with one player for them. We’re more concerned about our own players, if they’re healthy.”
Q. What was it that Jarret Stoll did that you kept them going together?
“I think the centermen knew the day before. It’s not that big a deal. Quite honestly, we played our same lines every shift, every game last year in the playoffs, just about all year this year, other than left wingers. We just moved Kopi (Kopitar) more into a quieter role, that’s all. Wasn’t really Jarret.”
Q. A quieter role meaning going up not the top six, the lower six?
“Yeah. And, quite honestly, you’re playing so many games in a short period of time, if you break the minutes down again, Kopi still played 20 minutes the other night. Everybody’s top players still play. When it’s all said and done, unless somebody has a two or more goal lead, the reason that everybody is still playing, or the teams that are still playing, is because their top players play a lot. You basically win or lose with those guys. So it’s not like we’re not going to play this guy. I mean, top players are the reason the top teams are still playing.”
Q. The other day you said in a perfect world you wouldn’t have preferred to put Toffoli in this situation here. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
“He’s 20 years old. That’s a lot of pressure.”
Q. How has he handled it?
“He was good last game. He was good the game before that. Struggled in the San Jose series. We’ll see how he does tonight. I don’t put any pressure on the player, that player. I just want him to be good shift to shift. If he doesn’t, I’m not going to say, ‘You’re a bad boy.’ I’m just not going to play him. He’s 20 years old. Maybe he’s 21 now. Not sure.”
We have plenty more coverage from morning skate already posted as well. See the links below.
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