Comments from Sutter after Kings land in Chicago

Sutter at Kings Cup parade 2012Upon landing in Chicago on Tuesday, Kings coach Darryl Sutter shared the following thoughts…

Q. How does it feel being up 3-1 going into tomorrow’s game.

SUTTER: Well, we know it’s a tough building to come into. We can take that experience away from it. I believe they were 7-0 in the playoffs coming into this series.  We know it will be tough. We know what the crowd is like. We know how they play in this building. It’s a big challenge.

Q. What strikes you as the difference with last year’s series?

SUTTER: Clearly personnel. Not just personnel that’s changed. Obviously there’s Gaborik and Pearson, Toffoli. Robyn played that series; didn’t play this one. Muzzin played. Didn’t play very much. Martinez, did he play at all against them?  You know, just that in itself is five or six players. That’s fairly significant. Guys are making a contribution now. Mike Richards was hurt. Came back at the end of it. Stolly just came into this series. Was off of a concussion. Wasn’t 100%.  That’s why every playoffs is different. You can’t compare. It’s so hard to compare years to years to years just because of that. Especially when you get into the third round, the marathon of the whole deal in terms of injury, just things like that.

Q. So much has been made about your ability to shut down Kane. Is there one guy that deserves credit?

SUTTER: No. I think for sure it’s not one guy. It has to be by committee. Really, we haven’t shut him down. I mean, I said it yesterday, he’s had glorious opportunities.  You’re not totally going to shut those guys down. You just want them to run away with something, have a big game, that’s when you have trouble. Quite honest, if you’re talking about last year’s series, that’s the last thing I remember, last shot on goal was his.

Q. Is it a luxury to have four really good centers.

SUTTER: Well, if all four guys are in the lineup. Last year they weren’t. If you’re looking back at ’12, you know, Kopy had played one playoff series in his career, I believe. He was probably looked on as somebody that didn’t have any experience.  Jarret had played in one series with the Kings. It was Mike’s first year. Colin Fraser was playing center and Jeff was playing wing. So this is a totally different group. In terms of experience, in terms of having some success together, this is quite a bit different.

Q. Guys talked about keeping the power play more simple. What are they specifically talking about?

SUTTER: Well, first of all, you have to have the puck. If you’re continually breaking the puck out or trying to break the puck into the other team’s zone, that means you’re not spending much time there. It might look nice, some of the break outs. At the end of the day, during a power play, you should only have to do it once or twice because you get to start in the offensive zone.  The big thing is trying to win the faceoff and get possession, then not over-pass the puck. Kind of an old-time thing, about there’s a thing about not passing the puck into the net. Sometimes guys, because most of them are your skill players, your top-end guys on a power play, they pass it around. They go past their best opportunity.
If you try to get them to simplify one or two passes, or where they shoot from or where the other team’s tendencies from and make sure somebody is in front of the net. I think every goal we scored, that’s in the zone where the set up looks like a power play is the one where the goalie is screened.

Q. How much can guys improve their faceoff ability during the course of their career?

SUTTER: I think it’s something they definitely can practice. It’s something that everybody in the league really pays attention to. I think we do a lot of work. You can do a lot of work with video now breaking it down. It’s pretty easy to run a tape on, say, Chicago’s centermen or San Jose’s centermen, Anaheim’s centermen. Guys like to look at that, see what extension and weaknesses are. I’m sure every team does that now.
Clearly it’s one of the things you look at with young centermen is how are they on faceoffs and are they working to improve on it. It’s a special skill. It’s one of those stats in hockey when you say you’re 50%, you know, if that was us in school, we’d be going again (laughter).

Q. How seriously do you take that stat?

SUTTER: Significant, especially if it’s into a matchup deal or into a top player deal. I talk to players lots about it. Get their input on who they think they can handle, what side of the ice in certain situations. All the time.

Q. It looks like you have left your centers out in most every situation

SUTTER: In this series? Because they tell me they’re comfortable with it. In fact, Stolly and Kopy took most of them last night. Jeff’s probably took more last night than he has in any of the prior three games.

Q. Last year in a short season it seemed certain teams made the final four but those teams continued winning this season as well

SUTTER: Teams this year? ‘Cause they’re good teams and they’re used to winning. As the season goes along, if they’re in the playoff race, they start getting that feeling where they’ve turned the corner, looking for home. They’re used to winning. There’s something extra there.
Good teams, once in a while they get upset, a bunch of injuries or something like that come into it, you go out early. When you’re a good team, that’s what you talk about, is May and June, then the players play better. They remember winning. They remember losing. That’s the best part of long runs is how good it feels and how bad it feels. Teams that go in once in a while or make the playoffs and are happy to be there, they don’t get the same feeling.  There’s something about winning it or losing it in the end that sticks with you. I think as an athlete, that’s what motivates you more than anything.

Q. How is the team feeling right now?

SUTTER: I think we’re in a good place in terms of understanding that we’re playing a really good hockey team, knowing full well we’ll get the full charge tomorrow night. We’ll have to be ready for it.

Q. You said the other day you don’t want to look behind or ahead. How difficult is that?

SUTTER: The toughest game to win in every series is the fourth game. Doesn’t matter if it’s the fourth game or the fifth game or the sixth game or the seventh game, it’s the toughest one to win. That’s all that you can look at.

Comments from Kings players Jeff Carter, Trevor Lewis, Mike Richards and Jonathan Quick click here.

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