Here’s what captain Dustin Brown had to say about Darryl Sutter’s hiring, and the first practice day on the ice with Sutter…
Question: Did today have kind of a “first day of school” vibe to it?
BROWN: “A little bit. I think it’s probably easier for the players than it is for the coach. We all know each other and we all have been here. He’s plunging himself into a whole new world. Today was a good first day. We got on the ice and practice was upbeat. It’s more of what we need.’’
Question: Was there a theme behind his message before practice?
BROWN: “That it’s going to take a lot of work, and it’s going to take everyone.’’
Question: What were things like after that Detroit game, when things went so bad?
BROWN: “It was an emotional week for everyone, players, staff, coaches, everyone in the organization. We went into Detroit and the game was it was. It was just one of those times. I think it was important for us to understand that we had to be better. You guys probably knew more about the coaching (situation) than we did. It was question after question about who was our coach, and I think it was important, especially as players, that regardless of whether John was our coach or Darryl was going to be our coach, we had a game to play in Toronto and we had to be ready to go.’’
Question: What are your impressions of Sutter?
BROWN: “He has a quiet intensity about him, at least that’s what I’ve noticed. I mean, I’ve spent maybe an hour with him now. I think he’s going to push the right buttons, and maybe that’s what we need as players, as a group of guys. We’ve been going through a tough time. The one message I kind of got from him is, we have to come together as a group. When you hear it from a guy like him, coming in, he’s been on the outside looking in, so he maybe brings a new perspective and some different ideas.’’
Question: Do you think guys stopped listening to Terry’s message?
BROWN: “At the end of the day, I think it’s the responsibility of the players to buy in. I can only speak for myself. I tried to do everything. Was I happy with the way I played? Was I happy with everything, the way it went for me? No. I could have been a better player under Terry, but I believed in the way he approached things. He did a lot for this team, in helping us grow. You guys can dissect the question itself. It’s hard to say. From a personal standpoint, I probably had more contact with Terry than most guys did, being the captain. All I can say now is, it’s done and over, and there’s probably going to be a new excitement within the guys.’’