Sunday’s with Sutter – Kings coach talks 2014 WCF

Coach Sutter Payne LA Kings NHL MayorsManorAfter practice Sunday, Kings coach Darryl Sutter shared the following…

Q.  How do you see the matchups and are you comfortable with them

SUTTER:  I think the rules, the lockout, it’s tough to change on the fly, really tough.  Took the redline out.  The hooking and holding.  It’s a lot. There’s not much matchup on the fly now.  You’re trying to get guys off.  You’re getting caught in odd-man situations a lot. It’s still a good matchup for us, Kopitar versus Toews, that’s a good matchup.  But there’s also times where it’s dictated by what’s just happened on the ice, maybe if it’s after a penalty. I believe our fourth line should be able to take three or four shifts against that line.  If they can’t, they shouldn’t be in the lineup.  If they can’t get one of those shifts somewhere in the game against whoever it is, if it’s Stoll on faceoffs or Mike on a faceoff or Mike on a change, doesn’t matter, you have to be able to do that, otherwise you’re still not playing. I don’t like doing that where it’s a 1-4 thing.  I don’t think you can win that way.

Q.  How do you try to motivate these guys?  What do you think about your style?

SUTTER:  I think you just try to be fair and honest to the group.  It’s not always good for the player because, you know, it’s based on ice time or something like that.  It’s always what is best for the group. As long as everybody understands that, there’s no problem.

Q.  (Question regarding Jeff Carter.)

SUTTER:  I think it was clearly when Dean and I during the Olympic break went over a lot of video, talking about our team, not so much for this year but going forward, how it was going to set up. As a coach you’re always saying, Now, now, now.  But you do it more in a longer way, just look at it differently, how the young guys are going to play, Tyler, Tanner.  At that point, you know, those two kids were still guys that couldn’t be here because of cap, but we wanted to get here somehow.  Not just have them here, but play them.  I don’t think you should just bring the kids here.  It’s good to give them a look, but at the same time what is best for our team long-term. Jeff, you know, we like him at center.  Even when we got him, we saw him as a centerman.  We weren’t in that position yet to do that.  He’s comfortable anywhere.  He just wants to play a lot.  That’s sort of what it is. When you say one through four, I wouldn’t want to say who one through four is when you play us.  That makes it more attractive from a coaching standpoint.

Q.  Can we talk about the resiliency factor?

SUTTER:  You don’t continually fall behind.  If somebody scores a goal, does that mean you continually fall behind?

Q.  Two straight games.

SUTTER:  So we continually fall behind (laughter).

Q.  Talk about that.

SUTTER:  I’m not talking about it.  Just because somebody scored doesn’t mean you weren’t playing good.

Q.  You’ve stopped the streak the last two games.  Pretty impressive.

SUTTER:  Got to break that streak.  Play in the middle of May, got to break some bad habits (smiling).

Q. Has having Mitchel back helped Slava?

SUTTER:  He plays with everybody.  Marty plays with Slava.  Muzz plays with Slava.

Q.  Jarret Stoll seems to be contributing something even if it’s not goals or assists.

SUTTER:  I think I’ve said it lots, that’s he’s a perfect checking centerman in the NHL.  You can pick a handful of guys that are going to be in that box and Jarret Stoll will be in that box.

Q.  Describe the importance of this next game in this series.

SUTTER:  It’s the fourth game.  Playing the Stanley Cup champion.  You go into every game thinking it’s an elimination game, that’s a good way to do it.  That’s what we’ll do again.  When it’s over, it will be over, then we’ll get ready for the next elimination game. It’s not as complicated as it seems.  It’s a series.  It’s the first team that can win four games.  Sometimes it takes seven.

Q.  You were talking about Pearson and Toffoli, knowing what they can do, all that.  Is there a common trait in kids that you draft and develop?  Is there something you want to see?

SUTTER:  What they have to do is learn how to train.  They have to train to be an NHLer first and foremost because they’re drafted when they’re 18 and they’re boys.  Unless they’re a free agent out of school or a 20-year-old undrafted player, you draft them when they’re boys. First off, they have to do that.  You can talk to kids, but for sure an adjustment is when they turn pro, learning the pro lifestyle.  They should learn it at the American League level first. The next part of that is the adjustment from the American League level to the National Hockey League level in terms of how you practice.  It’s still always an issue when players come here.  You have to practice at the pace of the National Hockey League.  Those are three pretty big things we talk about. First you got to train.  Most of the kids are going to get stronger, get bigger.  Then the lifestyle.  That’s a big one.  Not just play, but be able to help your team.

Q.  Last night you took pretty much everything they could throw at you.  Do you feel if you continue to play the way you’ve played that it will be difficult for the Hawks to get the upper hand in this?

SUTTER:  I don’t think there’s upper hand.  First off, both teams have to maximize everybody’s, whatever you want to call it, skill set.  Last night we had guys that weren’t on their game, so… We know that they can play better.  That’s saying that we’ll concentrate on ourselves, not on the Blackhawks.

Q.  There weren’t a lot of penalties called in yesterday’s game.

SUTTER:  Last night is a funny night in penalties.  Martinez is one over the glass, that’s automatic.  Too many men, guys are changing.  If you play the puck in there, that’s automatic.  Two stick, Williams and Pearson, sticks in the visors, that’s 200 feet from your goalie.  So that’s four there.  It was three and four. Quite honest, if you do it in the playoffs, every team gets three, four, five.  Minutes are bogus.  The minutes don’t mean nothing because, you know, there’s rounds or games, especially early in playoffs, where officials are calling ones that may or may not be. Penalty minutes don’t mean nothing.  It’s actual penalties.  Last night, if it’s three, four, those are good numbers. That’s where you want to be. It’s the execution or the killing or the power play that come into it then.  It’s interesting because both teams are good special teams.  Ebb and flow. Heck, in the last series, we had a press conference, it was about, What’s wrong with your power play?  That was an issue, so…

Q.  How do you describe the energy in their building?

SUTTER:  It was great last night.  Chicago has its own special thing.  When you go there, that’s not something that just happens.  It’s not just playoffs, it’s all the time there. It was good for our building to rival that last night or saw it off.

Q.  Are your guys feeding off it really well?

SUTTER:  The question yesterday morning was, What is wrong with us at home (smiling)?  That’s not really something for me to talk about.

Q.  Did you know Dick Butkus at all?


Q.  He was in the stands.

SUTTER:  Is that right?  He’s a Chicago boy.

Q.  Mr Pulford has been around, What does that mean for you

SUTTER:  I’ve spent a lot of time with him.  He was my first coach as a player.  He was general manager.  I remember watching him on TV.  I remember him being on the ice, black and white TV, the last time Toronto won the Stanley Cup, they pulled the goalie and scored empty net. He’s been close to my family now for a long time.  It was good to see him.

Q.  Do you guys talk about attitude.

SUTTER:  Well, we talk a lot about our attitude, having a good attitude, not one that’s a negative one or a losing one.  Always trying to stay in the right place.  It’s a mainstay of our team.  It’s not just in the playoffs.  It’s all the time.  It’s about the game’s over, the game’s over.  Start the next game.That’s the best approach you can have nowadays with the way the schedule is, with the diversity in your rosters.  Once it’s over, it’s over.  Take two, three good things, correct a couple things, away you go again.

Q.  Do you consider yourself a guy that pays attention to every little detail?


Q.  The reason I ask, last year, three hours before puck drop, you were checking to see that the lip of the ice wasn’t too high so your guys wouldn’t trip over it when they came off the ice.  I’ve never seen that.

SUTTER:  Working underground trying to help the league with their ice surfaces and their boards (laughter).

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