October 1 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter
On whether there’s anything “special” about opening night:
Well, we start on the road, so it depends what you call ‘home opener’ or ‘road opener.’ [Reporter: Just to start the season.] Guys are anxious to get going because the season starts today, not when we start. The season is tonight, and there’s three games tonight and three tomorrow, and I think there’s two conference games both nights. It’s sort of what we’re looking at.
On whether “the hay’s in the barn” and “everything has been taken care of”:
Yeah, I think we’ve talked to the players about ‘preseason was over Saturday,’ and then we start taking the next step. Did we accomplish everything we wanted in preseason? I think our top guys other than Brown – because of injury – all our top guys had good camps. I think it’s still a search in the role part of it. Quite honest, our eight defensemen still stayed one-through-eight. Nobody from eight or seven went into any other position. Nobody took that by the horns, for sure. So that hasn’t changed.
On Dustin Brown’s assertion that there hasn’t been much change over the last several seasons, and whether it makes his own job easier:
No, because our left wing was the lowest scoring left wing group in the National Hockey League last year. So other than trying to move Frattin from right wing to left wing, it’s certainly a big challenge for us because Jeff Carter was the leading goal scorer in the Western Conference, and at the same time, he played with guys in the point part of it, he was only able to get seven or eight assists because nobody on the other side could score. So that’s a huge thing. And then our third line was the lowest scoring third line in the National Hockey League. So is ‘change’ not good? There better be ‘change’ in terms of performance. [Reporter: So you do have some concerns going in.] Absolutely…and quite honest, our regular season last year was better season than the team that won the Stanley Cup. So it means our young guys are getting better. Our nucleus is getting better, but when you do it in a point-per-game, we played 48 games last year. You multiply it by 1.71, we had 100.8 points, which was a 100-point season. We finished fifth, and we preferred to try and get home ice. Based on last year, as good a season as we had team-wise we didn’t get home ice out of the deal. We still had over a hundred points. So it means as individuals we can still be better.