After Darryl Sutter answered questions pertaining to last night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, he opened up on the topic of the team’s young blue line and the challenge of developing and working with young players with the limited practice time in the compacted schedule.
On Jake Muzzin and Slava Voynov:
“Well, Muzz has come a long way. I hadn’t even seen him play. I had seen him last year at the All Star Break play, and that was it. We didn’t have a training camp this year, so I had never seen him. So to go from where he was on the depth chart to a guy that’s playing teen-minutes – he’s playing 17, 18, 19 minutes – is significant. Slava has still only played…a hundred NHL games. I think he’s struggled with his game the last month, for sure. What has he got from it? I don’t know. The experience of winning a championship, everybody gets something from it. But he had only played, if you look at it, he’s played very little NHL games.”
On Drew Doughty:
He played last year with Scuderi all the time. You look at his first 20 games probably, he was a minus-10 this year…Now he’s a plus player. So there’s obviously something to that. It’s no different than what Mike’s doing here – putting a bunch of young guys out there and they’re fighting for a playoff spot. I mean, that’s a big reason why. It’s no different than us.
On whether Robyn Regehr and Doughty are still developing their chemistry:
“Big time. You know what? It just doesn’t happen. Even though they play together five on five, even tonight, Drew gets some power play time, Robyn doesn’t. Robyn’s a penalty killer, Drew’s on the back end of it, so the only time you see them together is five-on-five, four on four. There’s lots to learn and do there. The key is always how young guys respect the veteran, the veteran is trying to help the young guy get better.”
On the late trading deadline impacting Doughty and Regehr’s acclimation:
“You know what? it’s not just the deadline. It’s the whole year with young players, right? I believe that boys like Slava, their game has dropped off [due to] no practice time. It’s just always about recovery, recovery, travel. When you think about it, by the time we got in here last night, that’s what time we’ll get into LA tonight. You know what? That’s all you’re doing is recovering. That’s all you’re doing. You know what? That’s part of it.
On when the team’s last really good practice was:
“We’ve had a couple that we’ve been able to in the last probably two weeks. I mean, we’ve had a really good record. We’ve played really well. The only way you have a good practice in with the schedule and the way its been this regular season is to have a day off the day before, because then they’re fresh. So any time you can see that where there’s a game and then two or three days, then you’ve got them away from the rink for a day, then you’ve got a good practice.”