Sutter to rookie: Keep proving it
Dwight King and Jordan Nolan have been getting quite a bit of attention since being called up from Manchester, and understandably so. Both rookies turned in two solid games over the weekend, and both scored their first NHL goals on Sunday in Dallas. As far as Darryl Sutter is concerned, though, that’s only going to carry them until tomorrow night at about 7:29 p.m. After that, the two rookies will have to prove themselves all over again. Sutter, not surprisingly, hasn’t been effusive of his praise of King and Nolan. He’s not going to anoint them as saviors after two games. Jarret Stoll hasn’t returned to practice yet, but he’s eligible to return from injured reserve on Saturday, and by all indications, he won’t be out much longer than that (if at all), meaning that the roster spots of King and Nolan are far from secure.
SUTTER: “I just don’t want them to tail off. If they have one practice where they tail off… You know what? They’re nothing special. They’re kids who are trying to learn how to play the game. We’re in a position, because of injuries and not scoring enough goals, to give them a chance. They better take full advantage of it. Hey, they’re a year older than Kyle Clifford. They’re a year older than Lokti. So they’re nothing special. They should have a little more under their belts than those guys, and they better prove it. It’s simple. It’s not the L.A., Hollywood thing. It’s about trying to win games, and get the most out of them.’’
Question: Has that been your message to them?
SUTTER: “Absolutely. There’s got to be a reason why they didn’t make the team in September, so they better not come up with that again. Hey, you can’t have 25 guys, right? You can’t have 14 or 15 forwards. You can only have 23 men on your roster. So, in four or five days (when Stoll returns), somebody is not going to be here. And that’s not got to do with me. That’s got to do with just accounting, and performance. That’s being honest.’’
On the subject of calling up prospects, Sutter was asked about Brandon Kozun, the Kings’ sixth-round pick in 2009 who has 13 goals in 51 games this season and had 23 goals in 73 games last season, and if Kozun had been considered.
SUTTER: “You have a be a really dynamic player when you’re a little player. You have to be really dynamic. How many of them are? Those two kids who came in here now, they’re big kids who can skate. That’s what they are, right? When you’re a little guy, you better be really dynamic. How many of them is there? The only one I can think of, in the American League, off the top of my head is the little guy who is in Montreal, Desharnais. I saw him in the American League and I thought, `He’s going to play,’ because he was dynamic. It’s a tough league to play in. The average weight of a defenseman is 220, and they’re as fast as any players you have on your team, so you have to be a pretty special player if you’re 40 or 50 or 60 pounds less.’’