December 30 morning skate quotes: Darryl Sutter
On Willie Mitchell’s performance against Nashville:
He played his normal game, pretty much. I think he got caught on the penalty killing goal. He was tired, and he should’ve stayed out. He was the left side guy that should’ve stayed. The other three had to come.
On Dustin Brown’s claim that he lost 13 pounds while ill:
That’s a good thing if you lose 13 pounds, right? That’s what I said – over the holidays. It’s like four or five – that’s your New Year’s resolution, it usually is. You make your resolution on the 26th, let’s say you’re going to lose four pounds January 2nd. That’s true.
On assessing the team near the season’s halfway point:
Quite honest, I’ve said this lots – you’re going to have to be a hundred-point team to make the playoffs out here, so anybody after 40 games that has 50-plus points should be feeling like they’re in a good place. [Reporter: That’s a pretty high number.] It is, but it’s real. I’ve said that before. That is a real number. At the end of the day, there might be a…seventh or eighth place team that’s got a hundred that clinches that with a week left. But still, that means it took a hundred points. [Reporter: Do you ever just look at the other conference, and the numbers?] It’s just the way the year is. I mean, it’d be interesting to see how often will that ever happen again. If it does, the reason one side has more hundred-point teams is because it’s the numbers they’ve got against the other conference, when you look at it. It’s not ‘in our conference.’ Our conference is tight. It doesn’t matter – anybody can beat anybody. It’d be interesting to see going forward how that all sorts out.
On whether he foresaw any conference imbalance as soon as realignment took place:
I’ve said it – there are two teams in the east that are dominant teams. In the west, there’s the Stanley Cup champions, so everybody’s trying to…keep pace with that, and then with the division that we have – Vancouver’s used to being a division winner, so it’s not like they forgot about it. They’re going to push for that again. Anaheim, San Jose, L.A. are all top teams, and Phoenix is the team, quite honest, when the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup, Phoenix was the team that beat Chicago out.
On whether a team like San Jose has begun to emulate Chicago’s pace:
I think San Jose, if you look at it, they’ve been a top team not just for one year. They’ve been a top team for the last seven or eight. So I think once Joe settled in and Couture settled in and Pavelski settled in and Vlasic settled in and Niemi came from here, it’s not like they made a big adjustment…We were in the same division. They weren’t in a division with Chicago. They tried to play more our style. Now everybody’s trying to. That’s the problem. There are no bad teams. Hey, look at Colorado. We’d seen ‘em in the preseason in Las Vegas, and we were walking out with Joe Sakic, saying, hey, you’ve got friggin’ eight of the best forwards in the league. If you get goaltending, you’re going to be tough. And that’s what they’re doing.
On whether the Kings have played a different style of hockey with Quick out:
No, I don’t think so. I think that’d be more of a question for players. I think the biggest difference clearly is communication. We had a goalie come from another organization who was clearly not familiar with what we wanted to do in our zone in terms of defensemen and handling pucks, things like that. He was used to facing 30-to-40 shots a night, and out here you don’t.
On how “rare” it is for an undrafted player like Martin Jones to have an “impact”:
Hey, fourth-year guy. There’s a reason that organizations keep guys. Look at a boy like Corey here. There’s a reason that guys keep guys and let ‘em develop. I mean, goalies don’t play that much in junior or in college, when you look at it. They don’t play that much hockey, and they don’t get the specialized attention that they do at the pro level. If the organization has the ability to keep a guy past his entry level contract, it doesn’t matter if he’s drafted or not. Who cares if you’re drafted or not? I mean, that’s like saying ‘first rounders are all supposed to play in the NHL.’ I mean, that’s not the way it works. Goalies develop – I mean, look at the European guys that come over. You know what? A lot of these guys come over in their mid-20’s and have to make that adjustment. It’s how much they play, and how much coaching they get. You know what? There’s lots of developing.
On how the schedule is set for Kim Dillabaugh, Goaltender Development:
If I need Kim here, I get him in. And that’s what’s flexible, is that if I feel that he’s necessary to be here. [Reporter: Did you know him very well before you came to the Kings?] No. [Reporter: So do you anticipate him coming back again on this trip?] On this trip? No. [Reporter: Or early next week when we get back?] No. He was just in. He was with Quick the whole time we were on the last trip.