Comments from LA Kings coach Darryl Sutter upon arriving in Chicago Saturday night…
Q. Are you worried at all about the turnaround after two seven-game series?
COACH SUTTER: I don’t think ‘worried’ is the right word. Obviously, there’s a little bit of concern how we’re going to respond. We’re excited about coming here. We talked about this all year. They’re the last team to beat us in the playoffs. They’re the team that has the Cup. If we want another shot at it, we knew it was probably going to have to be down this road.
Q. I know the schedule is a bit of a grind for you. Does your team feed off that? Do you think that benefits you to not have the time?
COACH SUTTER: I don’t know. As playoffs go along, every team would tell you if they could get a break between series or a break during series. There’s no momentum drop or gain. You need recovery days. Some guys go for it banged up. We’re not skating. We played 14 games now and we’ve had four guys that have practiced once. So it’s a challenge, it always is. That’s what playoffs is about.
Q. You say there’s no momentum drop or gain. Do you worry about an emotional drop-off?
COACH SUTTER: I haven’t seen it with this group. I mean, I’m sure all teams are different, but I haven’t seen it. We played a lot of series, so we haven’t seen it affect us that way. I think that’s one of the reasons we played last year in the playoffs because you’re not going to always have a perfect game, you’re always searching for the perfect game, and you never have the great game and you never have the bad game. As long as you can keep it in there somewhere, you give yourself a chance mentally to be better tomorrow. That’s pretty much our team now. Tomorrow what we don’t have in energy we’ll make up in being a little smarter. There’s always ways to stay close.
Q. It seems like more of the top guys now are stepping up even more than they did in the series against the Blackhawks last year. What changes have you noticed with your offense?
COACH SUTTER: Well, it’s a different team. There’s probably about five or six different players in the lineup that are contributing significant minutes that we didn’t have last year. So that would be the difference.
Q. Is there a chance for Willie Mitchell?
COACH SUTTER: He skated yesterday, he skated today. When the doctors and the trainer and Willie come and tell me he’s ready, I’m open to that. That’s the way it works.
Q. How much will that help your team, especially with the special teams?
COACH SUTTER: Well, he didn’t play for us last year. He didn’t play Game 7 against San Jose. He didn’t play Game 7 against Anaheim. The kids we put in, Jeff Schultz came in the lineup, has done a really good job for us. Sort of a playoff circle. Guys go out, guys come in. Sometimes they fulfill the prophecy, sometimes they don’t.
Q. You mentioned before last night’s game about some of your young guys. Are you happier overall with the way they played?
COACH SUTTER: Yeah, I think the longer the series go, the longer you need to use players. If you start shortening your bench up or the other team starts to shorten their bench up, it’s usually to your advantage. As a coach, you are looking to your next opponent a little bit. You are managing ice time.