As denoted by color coding, there were changes to the Kings’ top two lines when the team practiced Monday afternoon at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Dwight King – Anze Kopitar – Jeff Carter
Dustin Brown – Mike Richards – Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford – Trevor Lewis – Matt Frattin
Daniel Carcillo – Jarret Stoll – Jordan Nolan
Robyn Regehr – Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell – Slava Voynov
Alec Martinez – Matt Greene
Jake Muzzin – Keaton Ellerby
-Colin Fraser was color-coded with the King-Kopitar-Carter line.
Following the skate, Darryl Sutter downplayed the impact of the shuffle while offering insight towards the evolving lineup and early season production.
On the adjustments to the top two lines:
I mean, they play together lots. If you look at minutes by lines, it’s a pretty significant difference in your top four guys – Williams and Kopi and Richie and Jeff [and the] minutes they play, compared to everybody else. Power plays, those guys play lots together. It’s really not anything.
On the team “smothering” Florida defensively on Sunday:
You know what…other than I’d say one period in Winnipeg, we’ve been really good. It’s not a ‘team’ thing, it’s just once in a while individual stuff. Just keep reinforcing some of these guys.
On paying particular attention to Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis
On the road it’s tougher…But it’s just no different going to Carolina and playing against Staal and Semin. [Reporter: I know there were people who were saying “If you stop Stamkos and St. Louis, you win. If you don’t, they beat you.”] Yeah, well they say that about us, too. So we’ve got guys that haven’t scored a goal yet, that if you stop them, we shouldn’t win, either.
On Daniel Carcillo’s game and adjustments:
You move him around the lineup, put him in the lineup, take him out of the lineup, keep him challenged that way. Make sure he doesn’t take undisciplined penalties, make sure he doesn’t turn the puck over. He comes as advertised. He gives us some energy and you’re careful how much you use him. He’s a 10-to-12 minute player, so if he gets less than that, it’s because you don’t like something in his game, and if he gets more than that, it’s probably taking away from his game. Quite honest, it’s a good problem to have as coaches. Guys fighting over those few minutes of ice time. When you’re playing with a lead, it’s easier to give guys like that their two or three minutes more, and when you’re not playing with the lead, they’re not playing.…Quite honest, the toughest problem you have is the guys that aren’t playing, keeping them sharp. It’s not about keeping them happy. If they’re pouting, they will never get to play with me. They can forget about it. But if they’re working to get back in, it’s like with Fras or Muzz or Keaton. You never have to worry about a guy like Fras. He knows his role, and he’s ready to go. However you use him, he’s going to be a good team guy. If any of those young guys get off track on it, they’re in trouble because they’re putting the team in trouble. [Reporter: That obviously sets a good example for the others, to see Colin accept it.] You know what? That’s why you have 23-man rosters now. With your schedule and your roster, you need everybody. We’ve talked about it lots with these guys. This year, we’re carrying eight defensemen, and if you’re healthy, you’re obviously not in a position if you want to get 13 forwards and send guys down, you’re not bringing somebody up, you’re not moving somebody up. So that’s what we’re going to do. So they’ve got to stay sharp.
On whether he has been pleased with the “impact” of Trevor Lewis at center:
It gives us balance on this trip. That’s what it does. [Reporter: Is the speed the factor there?] He gives us speed wherever he is. It’s not changing his minutes at all. He and Jarret still play lots together, and last night he played left wing, he played right wing, he played center. You don’t have to worry about guys like Lewie. He gives you honest, every night.
On the recent scoring by Dwight King, Daniel Carcillo and Jordan Nolan, and whether it balances out the attack better:
Obviously that’s what you’re trying to do, but at the same time it’s not that easy. Our four centermen haven’t scored a goal yet, so we’re six games in, they haven’t scored a goal. Our left wing – that was probably the best thing about last night, was Carcillo scoring a goal and getting a goal from your fourth line. It’s an issue every game with our team.
On whether he’s happy with the amount of offense created:
Yeah, we’re good. Chance-wise, we’re fine. We have to finish it off. Trying out outshoot, out-chance, out-time, out-battle, outnumber. Do those things. You can’t go 82-0. It’s impossible. Well, unless your team’s got the parade route set up already.