January 30 morning skate quotes: Pittsburgh
Bylsma, on Los Angeles playing a Western Conference style:
They would be prototypical. They would be the team you look at to say this is the difference between the East and the West if there was one. I don’t know what the record now is for the East vs. West. I was aware of the winning percentage of the West after the first third of the season. What I do know about the West – I think the top six or so teams are heavy to play against. If you have to play Anaheim, LA, San Jose, St. Louis, and then Chicago, you’re playing – that’s a tough a stretch. That’s heavy games every night. You’re playing against good teams and that’s, I think, harder about the West right now than the East. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen it, we’ve played Anaheim and San Jose. We played those teams several times and over-and-over again and back it up with LA – you’re playing a tough schedule. We’re going to get a dose of that tonight, playing these guys and their goals against and how they play. They play heavy all over the ice and they grind on you and we’ll see that tonight.
Bylsma, on Dustin Brown:
In watching Dustin Brown in the last three weeks he’s had probably four games where the opposition is looking to take his head off, fight him, challenge him – because of how heavy he plays, because of going to the net hard and scoring goals in the blue paint, maybe standing over a goalie, because of hits that he’s delivered. I keep watching these games and I keep reading the comments and that’s what you’re playing against with Dustin Brown. His year hasn’t got the numbers that he’s maybe had in the past but he plays a heavy game. He plays a game that he could deliver a hit that that changes the game.
Bylsma, on Dustin Brown’s role on the USA Olympic team:
The leadership is a big part of Dustin Brown’s game and how he plays I think. How does that translate to a short tournament? I hope in five or six games over there – for people that are talking about that stuff after the game – in a six or seven game tournament, hopefully he has a chance to do that in four of those games.
Byslma, on Los Angeles playing playoff style hockey all season:
I know for our team, a lot of our focus and a lot of our habits and how we play is based on success in the playoffs. Two goals against or less, you win 81% of your hockey games – that’s in the playoffs, the special teams, if you are plus in the playoffs in the special teams you win 68% of your hockey games. So a lot of our detail, a lot of our habit a lot of how we want to play is based on playoff success, not just regular season. That’s what we have to be in the playoffs. That’s how it’s going to be in the playoffs. That’s how the game is going to be played and the Kings, with two goals as their goals against average, is the best in the league. 2.00 – that wins you about 80-plus percent games in the playoffs.
Bylsma, on handling injuries:
I think the growth of your team happens a lot of different ways. You’re going to see several different storylines for your team throughout the 82games. For us, we’re probably in our fourth one. Start of the year – we’ve had injuries and we’ve had more injuries and now we’re going through assimilation of players back into the group and that team is also without Pascal Dupuis as a winger on the top line. So you’re seeing that go through our team and go through that portion of the season right now. That’s the growth of your team and that’s the development of your team. Also, at the 50 to 60 game mark and you’re looking to go into the Olympics, there is different storylines and we’re going through that right now as a group.
Bylsma, on having the moms on this road trip:
This is the first mom’s trip. The first time our moms have been on the trip. It’s been distinctly different than the dad’s. I feel – I’m 43 years-old – and I feel like my is watching over me and taking care of me even on this trip. But also, the difference is we’ve talked about the fashion and size of the carry-on luggage. I told the mothers last night – I hate to bear the news, I think they thought it was a two week trip not a two game trip. For the morning skate here, we had a nice video for the mothers and they were part of our meetings, but all but about five left the rink immediately. They didn’t stay around. The dads would all be standing around the rink, watching the morning skate and they’re all gone. So they scattered pretty quickly. I went out to look at the moms and they’re not at the rink any longer. For me and I know the guys as well, our mothers on the trip – to be able to repay and thank you for everything they’ve been for us – it makes me feel a lot younger. I think about 12 or 13 years-old with having the mom and being able to say thank you and I love you and I heard a lot of I love you’s today from their sons. So it’s a little bit different feel than if the dads were here.
Rob Scuderi, on Slava Voynov:
He plays defense first and he just has that knack and ability to join at the right times. He doesn’t force it. He sits back and he makes the right play. He has the ability to jump into the play with the puck, without the puck. He seems to find the right spots and the right areas.
Scuderi, on returning to Los Angeles:
It’s a lot of fun. It’s a place where I have a lot of great memories and have had a lot of good times and still have a lot of good friends. It’s interesting to be back as part of another team, but at the same time nothing but good memories and good times from this place for me.
Matt Niskanen, on the physicality of Western Conference teams:
It seems to be that way. It seems to be a lower scoring game on average out here, a lot tighter checking. I don’t know if it’s the personnel or the team’s philosophy and how they want to play the game or what, but it does seem to be more physical than a lot less space to create offense out here.
Niskanen, on Los Angeles playing a sound defensive game:
They’ve had a lot of success with it. I think you saw when they won that spring, that they just didn’t give anything up. They didn’t score a lot of goals, but they eventually made the playoffs and got hot. The started finding some goals and that’s when they had their success, but they just don’t give up a whole lot. For us, I think we have to be prepared to play that kind of game – that there is just not going to be a lot of offense there. Their goalie is good and they have good defensemen, a bigger team that just really tries to grind you, tries to be in your face all night. We have to be prepared for that.
Niskanen, on Los Angeles’ recent lack of scoring:
They’ve got guys who can put the puck in the net. They have offensive talent, but I think their team game is just being really good defensively. That’s just the way they play. They play playoff hockey all the time it seems like. Certainly, they turn it up for the playoffs. They’re just not going to give up a whole lot. We’re not going to get 25 scoring chances tonight. We’ve got to try to generate 12 or 14 and we have to be good defensively, because if they get two or three goals they’re not going to give up four – more than likely. We just have to be prepared to win that kind of game.
Niskanen, on if this is a game to measure themselves:
I think so. The last few years now, we’ve proven that we can score a lot and we can score in bunches – regular season especially. So I think this is the perfect time of year to play a team like this, that is a playoff style brand of hockey. Kind of need to get this into our brains right now, that this is going to be to generate things. Our mentality going into the game, that we can’t give up a whole lot because they certainly aren’t. It’s a perfect opportunity to see where we’re at with our mentality.