May 16, 2013 2:54 pm

May 16 morning skate quotes: Darryl Sutter

On the Kings’ depth being tested:
“I think the 48-game schedule tested everybody’s depth, for sure. If you look at the number of guys that we used – that everybody used that’s still playing – it’s probably a big reason why they are still playing. It was totally different with the schedule and the travel. We’ve talked about that a lot, about having to use everybody and be able to put guys in situations. Basically you just continued that.”

On Brad Richardson’s role being similar to that of a “utility infielder”:
“He’s played a good role for us, not always one that he was happy about because you’re not using him all the time. But he prefers to play center. You know what? It’s something that him and I have always talked about, was he likes to play center. When he came into the NHL, he came in as a centerman, and once Mike [Richards] came to the Kings, you know, hey, Kopi, Mike, Jarret were the three guys, and then with Fras coming in last year as the fourth guy, it was a huge competition there. Even with a guy like Trevor who’s a natural centerman – now he’s back in that position. Hey, you want him to take advantage of it. He has to play well for us, because it’s not easy playing, quite honest, when you look at San Jose’s four centermen – if they use Joe and Logan and Pavelski and Gomez as their four centermen – you’ve got to match up. That is the matchup in the series. That means that Brad has to play well against somebody, whoever it is. You get a little advantage at home, but you don’t after this.”

On how “seamless” the process was of breaking new defensemen into the team’s lineup:
“Not seamless at all, quite honest. Marty was one of our regular six last year. I don’t know what he ended up playing. If you go back, like a 12-to-14 minute guy. His partner was Greene, so it was left-right, veteran-kid. And we didn’t have Greene, and Marty struggled at the start. And then he got hurt, and then he didn’t play. So, really, it knocked that right out. Willie Mitchell was Slava’s partner. You know, we brought Muzz in – he played a few games two years ago and was sort of the eighth or ninth guy in the whole program when you look at it. He came in, and it wasn’t seamless with him. It was an in-and-out thing. We just sort of pushed him into it, and he plays one side of the ice only. Quite honest, Keaton was the guy who really did a lot of that seamless stuff for us, because he can play the left and right side, and he can give – even if you look at his minutes, they’re less than everybody. He was the key guy in it, because he was a kid that we could use killing penalties. He was a guy that could play both sides, and…when you look at the playoffs when we dressed seven, he only played a few minutes but he was a really important player in it.”

On Slava Voynov’s emergence counterbalancing the team’s defensive alterations:
“I think Slava, for sure…Slava, because he plays behind Drew – which he should – and they both the right side, and usually Matt Greene’s usually that third guy, but Slava is that next guy in the box, which means that he has to play against top players…It certainly wasn’t seamless for him. He stepped in and played really well to start because, quite honest, he went to the American League and played games, and so when the season started this year he was ready to come, and for a while he was probably our best defenseman. And then he hit that place around the first of March where because his minutes were up, his game really went off, and until probably the last few games of the regular season, his game wasn’t where we needed it to be, and he’s got it back. You know what? That tells you something about the kid, but it also tells you that he’s still a kid, and there’s peaks and valleys there.”

On whether Dustin Penner raises his play in the playoffs:
“I’ve only coached him two playoffs, and we’ve only played seven games in this one, and last year in the playoffs he scored big goals for us. His minutes were actually less than they were in the regular season. That’s however you want to look at it.”

On whether there is more faceoff pressure on an individual center, or if it the responsibility is spread out in the absence of Jarret Stoll:
“I don’t think it’s spread out. You know, Jarret’s a righthanded faceoff guy, but Lewie can take some of that and Jeff Carter can take some of that, too. That’s a little bit of a matchup, but you’ve got to be careful of that too. You start mixing guys around – guys if they lose draws and they forget what position they are in coverage, things like that. It gets spread around, I think. It’s funny with our team. I pay attention to tonight, not last night, in how they’re doing. We have Richie, Kopi, Carts that are more veteran guys on faceoffs, and they a lot of times are telling me how they’re doing, or what they think more than you telling them, and that’s why if you see a lot of it, we’ll be talking – like if you talk to them from the bench to on the ice to those guys, they’ll tell you if they’re OK or if they want somebody else.”

On whether there is an increased emphasis on match-ups in this series:
“I think what’s more important in this series is unlike our last series or any of the [series] from last season would be how much more guys play. So those aren’t matchups. There’s no question about it – there’s times during games that just because of the fatigue or the way it works, that just because of the fatigue or the way it works that you’re going to get caught where I’m against somebody that I shouldn’t be. That’s going to happen twice a game, right? If it happens more than that, that’s on you. But that is going to happen. But on the other hand, just take it from last game. Just pretend you’re doing it and see how many guys played five-to-eight minutes, and see how many guys played 18-to-23. So most of those 18-to-23s, they’re usually on the ice together. Hey, it’s a fact. When you go from 30-16-to-8 teams, those guys are usually on the ice against each other.”

On whether the gap between Games 3 and 4 allows key players to play more minutes than normal:
“It’s a one-goal game, tied game, those guys are going to [play]. It doesn’t matter. I mean, there’s no rocket science there, unless it is a faceoff situation or something like that, or a skate getting done or somebody getting sewn up. Any time the players can get an extra day, those guys who play a lot, it’s…not a problem for those guys to recover. You know what?…you watch other series. I mean, look at Chicago-Detroit last night. I thought Detroit played a hell of a game, but one team at the end had a little more in the tank. Mike said it too – Babcock – he said, ‘hey, we weren’t very good the day before in practice because you know what? We just went through a tough series the day before and a lot of travel.’ They’re not machines. They’re people, and I think we always forget about that.”

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