Darryl Sutter might say simple things, but be assured that he’s not a simple man. Every coach has his own motivational tools, and every coach knows that what he says publicly has a good chance of making its way to his players’ eyes and ears. To that end, Sutter gave some interesting comments today, after initially being asked about Jonathan Quick’s uncharacteristic interference penalty in Thursday’s game against San Jose.
SUTTER: “He didn’t play very well, so he was probably a little frustrated with his own performance.”
It didn’t quite end there, though. In the recent past — such as here — Sutter has drawn comparisons with Quick and Miikka Kiprusoff, of whom Sutter speaks with great professional affection. This isn’t to say that Sutter is being dishonest in terms of his feelings about Quick, but is he saying things to try to fire up Quick a bit? Sutter continued, when asked about bad games being few and far between for Quick this season…
SUTTER: “Hey, it’s a big challenge when you play San Jose. San Jose has a goaltender [Antti Niemi] that has won a Stanley Cup. He quietly goes about his business and doesn’t get much credit, just criticism. And we have one that gets a lot of credit.”
Question: Do you think he gets too much credit?
SUTTER: “I’m not getting into that, because I know what happens when you answer those questions. You have to prove it, right? That’s what it’s about.”
Question: Then again, they [San Jose] had a goalie who let in five also…
SUTTER: “He won the game. Tony Esposito had 15 shutouts in his rookie year, and he said the best goalies in the league can win you 7-5 games. And he was right. It’s a sign of a great goaltender. You look at all the great teams that have won Stanley Cups. You look at those Edmonton teams and look at those Islander teams and look at teams lately. The goalie tonight [Niemi] played on the Chicago Blackhawks and made lots of big saves when (they) needed him. That’s not an opinion. It’s a fact. There’s proof.”