Q. Darryl, Dean is a finalist for GM of the year. Aside from hiring you, what are the really smart things he’s done?
COACH SUTTER: I think his plan when he came here, however many years that is now, be able to put it in place. A team that was probably behind the eight ball in terms of a lot of different things, in terms of the whole management part of it, probably the scouting part of it. It’s good because it’s voted ‑‑ never used to have it. Now it’s voted by the managers, I believe. A lot of them aren’t.
Q. Dustin Brown said over the last year and a half, he’s seen Drew Doughty’s leadership attributes take span. What have you seen during that time span?
COACH SUTTER: I think that’s a question we answer once a month. I think it’s fairly evident in his performance. That’s how he demonstrates his leadership, in how he plays. He’s an elite, top AA defenseman in the NHL.
Q. Players say you like to keep them on their toes most of the time. Over the years, have you learned which guys you can push and which you have to back off?
COACH SUTTER: Good teams have great leadership groups. Not all teams have that. This team has it, so… Defer to them.
Q. Can you still get on them if you’re unhappy?
COACH SUTTER: What does ‘get on them’ mean? Seems to be the topic these days.
Q. Do you get angry with them?
COACH SUTTER: Not very often. Team wins 60 to 70% of their games, that is, in itself, a pretty good achievement in this league.
Q. The guys were also saying in the dressing room that you’re less about communication than you are about motivation. What do you believe is your approach to dealing with professional athletes?
COACH SUTTER: Well, most of them are small‑town guys, they don’t need a whole lot of extra attention or support.
Q. When you see Mike Richards go through a season like he went through, the points weren’t there, he couldn’t get out of it, do you ever doubt that he has something left? Seems like he’s been making an impact, been able to up his game in the playoffs.
COACH SUTTER: He’s been an extremely good player for us in the playoffs. At the end of the day, that is how you’re measured. When you’re grading or talking about players, doesn’t matter if it’s the coaches, another team, media, management, fans, whoever it is, they should add it all together. 82 games, then add the playoff games in. Whenever we’re finished, then I know how it will be graded. They’ll grade it on the regular season. If you play how many playoff games over a period of time, you’re a significant part of that with the same team, you’re a good player, really good player. Doesn’t matter how popular you are, what expectations are, any of that. When your team does that, that’s the strength of your team. That just basically tells you about Mike Richards.
Q. When you’re doing evaluations after a season, a playoff season, do you weight the playoffs than you do a regular season?
COACH SUTTER: Depends who the individual is how you are grading. If you have young guys, players with very little experience maybe, so you’re evaluating them at that time in terms of how they handle pressure. The playoffs are so different in terms of how players are used, situations they’re used. If you’re a team that sneaks in and you’re happy to make the playoffs, after the first round, it was a good experience, that’s one thing. But when you start making steps as a team, then I think you evaluate everybody different because there’s so much that goes into it, how much they play in the regular season, then maybe what they have to go through in terms of injury. We’ve already played how many games now in the playoffs? So you’re playing every other day. You know, you can evaluate based not on what they did, but what they can do when it’s all done.
Q. Do you think either of the goaltenders in this series can be effective mentally either by success breeding confidence or when they’re not successful?
COACH SUTTER: Both goalies are back‑to‑back Stanley Cup winners. They’re not going to struggle with one shift of that. Both of them are guaranteed prepared to play all night to win a hockey game. Only thing you have to look at or think about is shootouts.
Quotes from Kings players – including Dustin Brown, Willie Mitchell, Jarret Stoll and more – click here.