January 11 morning skate quotes: Darryl Sutter
On whether there’s any “temptation” to dress seven defensemen:
We’ve done it. We did it a few games ago, quite honest, because all seven weren’t playing very well. So, you know what? You’re trying to say, ‘OK, is this guy going to be all right on the power play tonight? Is this guy going to be all right in the penalty killing tonight? Can this guy play against Henrik Zetterberg tonight? Can this guy play against this guy tonight?’ And quite honest, that’s why home and road records are what they are in the NHL, because there’s more coaching involved instead of guys getting caught up there instead of guys getting caught out there and not being able to perform against certain guys. And usually it’s defensemen.
On Alec Martinez:
We’re just trying to get some consistency in his game, shift to shift. His defending – he’s a really good skating forward guy. He’s a similar defenseman to a lot of these guys Detroit is playing, these young guys now. They’re all in the same age group where their strengths are skating forward and when they have the puck, and their deficiencies are skating backwards. Not the ‘skating backwards’ part of it – but playing the game when you’re skating backwards, because defensemen have to do that. So what you’re trying to do is get some consistency in his game. I’d said it before, when we lost Keaton, Keaton was a guy who could play both sides, so we just threw Marty into it. Said, ‘Here, you take some responsibility. You want to play? Play both sides. That way it gives you an opportunity to play.’ It really cuts you from seven to three, when you think about it. Your numbers…if you can only play one side of the ice as a defenseman, there’s only three guys. But if you can be one-of-seven, then it allows you to be one-of-seven. Otherwise it just allows you to be one-of-three, and that cuts your odds pretty good.
On Alec Martinez’ recent scoring touch:
He’s getting a shot a game. Do the math…He had two good shots the other night. Tyler Toffoli went through the [slot] on the faceoff, Mike Richards won the draw, and Marty should hit the net, and he did it once earlier in the game, and he misses the net by four feet. Hey, if you play him on the power play and he’s not getting a shot a game, I would say that you’re doing him a favor. Same as Jake. If they’re not hitting the net, then really, you’re just doing them a favor. It doesn’t mean your team’s doing any better for it.
On receiving goals from defensemen:
Who’d we play last game? [Reporter: Boston.] How many goals did they have by defensemen? 26. How many did the Kings have? 16. 33’s got six on the power play for Boston, which means he’s a net presence guy. We need to get more out of not just offense, but more out of – I said it last game – we’ve got to get more out of our defense. Not in terms of goals, but in terms of offense. [Reporter: Or find a six-foot-nine defenseman.] Well, there’s only one of them, and he gets better with age. They put him in there because he’s a great player and he can play pretty much the whole game.
On the Detroit Red Wings:
They’re a very veteran team, and obviously Howard’s been in and out of the lineup. Howard was a huge part of their success last year. Quite honest, we’re a younger team in terms of the nucleus of our team, and we’ve probably been on similar paths this year. Our goalie’s been out, their goalie’s been out. They’re trying to ride games. Both teams have good penalty killing. Both teams’ power plays go up and down. There’s a lot of similarities. They’ve had to make the adjustment of going over to the other conference. They’re a good road team. They’ve been historically a great home team. This year they haven’t been. There’s probably three or four wins. They’ve historically been a close-to-home-ice team every year. This year they have a little bit more trouble at home, so it’s probably pushed them more into the next group.
On any potential lineup changes:
I don’t know yet. I’d like to see theirs first. Have an extra guy in warm-up, and get a read on theirs first.