March 14, 2013 3:04 pm

March 14 morning skate quotes: Darryl Sutter

On how hockey operations is affected by today’s AEG news:
“It doesn’t affect us at all, quite honest. We’re players. We heard in the summer that AEG and or the Kings and or whatever was for sale, and all that, so now it’s not. That’s the business part…it doesn’t really affect us as long as we know that we can keep our players and all that stuff. That’s what we care about, and obviously Mr. Anschutz has been pretty awesome with all that when you look at our young players and how he’s let Dean make sure these guys are all here.”

On how closely he keeps tabs on off-ice matters:
“Well, this is obviously a unique situation, because Mr. Anschutz doesn’t live in Los Angeles. You’re used to talking to [owners]. It’s like when we were in San Jose here together, Mr. George wasn’t here that often either, but he was probably like Mr. Anschutz. He was an awesome guy, an awesome owner, right? So that’s all that matters. So what am I keeping track of anybody else for, other than our own team? I’ve been lucky to work for Mr. Anschutz, Mr. Gund, Mr. Wirtz, and Harley Hotchkiss and Doc Seaman. I couldn’t pick in pro sports better owners. When you think about it, that’s a pretty spectacular group.”

On where his first interaction with Dean Lombardi was:
“We had probably met somewhere in the hockey [circles], but I couldn’t tell you.”

On whether he recalls good chemistry early in his relationship with Lombardi:
“I really can’t remember. I’m getting too old to remember how long ago that was.”

On working with Lombardi in San Jose:
“Well, it was a team that was struggling when we came here, right? It was not just on the ice, but it was struggling in terms of the whole organization part of it. You know what? That’s what we were brought here to do.”

On whether he’s seeing the “big picture” starting to come together with the Kings:
“Other than a couple of games this year – it’s like I tell the players. I haven’t been disappointed in them in more than two games this year. The schedule gets you. The officiating gets you. Little things happen during games. There’s nobody…in history that’s won every game. As long as you’re preparing to win every game, that’s the most important part, especially with the kids. I don’t talk to them about the results. Let the results take care of themselves. ‘You guys be honest, trust each other’, and that’s one thing they can always go back to, because the nucleus of the team won together. So the young guys that haven’t played much here or that are new to the group – they have to learn to go in to that. Obviously it’d be easier to do it if they were more experienced guys or veteran players, but we’re doing it with the young guys, and quite honest they’ve done a pretty good job of it. So that’s kind of what you need them to do still. Just show trust in them, and build trust in each other. Our goal is really simple: try to be a playoff team. All the other B.S. about ‘oh, we’re going to win the Stanley Cup’, you know what? 30 teams say that. Every year, that’s our goal. Realistic is if you make the playoffs, then you have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. You see the race – we talk about it with our kids a lot. I don’t know what it is today, but I bet there’s – on our side – after Anaheim, Chicago, after that, there are probably 13 teams that are within four wins. So what’s the difference of the teams? Nothing. Three or four wins…That’s how the league has changed since the salary cap rule came in…there’s no difference with the teams. Basically it boils down to how your top players play, if you stay away from injuries, if some kid comes out of the woodwork. That’s basically the difference in the clubs. We just try and do it a game at a time.”

On challenges presented by San Jose:
“They’re an experienced team. We’ve played – probably other than Anaheim – they’re a very experienced group. They’re big down the middle. It’s something we have to talk about lots – Thornton, Marleau, Handzus faceoffs…You know what, I talk to the players a lot about Dan Boyle, just because of the respect I have to him as a player and as a competitor. You know what? He’s a key part of their team. Obviously, Logan’s becoming a player that a lot of our guys need to know better. You know what? I don’t think it poses a different dynamic than other teams, but you have to make sure everybody’s aware of top players, and what they’re capable of doing.”

On the maturation of Patrick Marleau and Brad Stuart throughout their careers:
“I said this in the summer – the two biggest additions to the San Jose Sharks were clearly Brad Stuart and Larry Robinson. Larry’s a coach, Brad’s a player, but they’re two pretty high-profile winners that nobody talks about. Significant players. And then you talk about Marleau, well Patty’s still got the wheels. He’s still a top player in the league, so you’ve got to pay attention. Heck, I remember Patty’s first game. He was 18. 18. 18th birthday, I think he played on, when you think about it. 18.”

On the challenges of developing young players at this level:
“Well, you know what? Everyone remembers the trials and tribulations we had with Patrick. We were lucky to have veteran centermen to offset that. You had Vinny and you had Bernie and you had Ronnie…he didn’t have to be Patrick Marleau. He just had to be a kid like Marco and those kids. That was our job, right? That’s what we were trying to do, [was to] not push those kids. It was part of the organization’s mantra – we had to play those kids, but at the same time, we weren’t going to push them into situations that they shouldn’t be in. Hey, when you think about it, with Patrick and Brad – Patty’s played one place his whole career, and Stewie’s played in…five. They’ve been real healthy guys, right? You know what? If you look at it, they’re sort of iron men guys, when you look at it, and that’s allowed them to have – because of their skill set and their size – it’s allowed them to have really good careers. Nobody talks about that with those kids, but you know what? You’re getting a lot of games out of those guys every year. Also, you’re getting a lot of playoff games out of them, too. That’s significant…when you look at it. Age doesn’t come in to play with those guys as long as they still have the desire to still do it. Their skills have never dropped off.”

On Brent Burns as a forward:
“I’ve seen him a lot in Minnesota. Jacques used to play him on wing there a lot, so I’m very familiar with him. Coached in Calgary against him as a winger. It’s a good problem to have Burns on right wing with Joe Thornton. I told Drew in the meeting today – I said ‘Heck, friggin’, Drew, if you don’t score again, I’ll put you on right wing with Kopitar.’”

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