February 5 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter
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On the Toffoli-Kopitar-Carter line:
We’ll stay with it tomorrow night, and that’s not something that clearly we’re set in stone [with]. Even though we haven’t won at home lately, it is an advantage at home, because you can get them on the ice with [who] you want. On the road, it’s a lot tougher. If your top end, if they’re the only group that’s producing, that’s, quite honest, a reflection of your record. You need it spread through your lineup. So am I stuck with that? No, I’m not. I mean, we put Tyler there to try and get some more stability out of the left side of our ice because it’s been a struggle, when you look at it. That’s documented – the left side of our ice.
On Tyler Toffoli playing on the left wing:
The big thing is his feet. The adjustment is clearly his feet. It’s like when I said that earlier in the year with Fratts and Tyler and those guys. We’re doing it now because we need to get something out of the left side of our ice, when you look at it. That’s the adjustment from playing, Daryl, and…you know there’s a side that you’re better at. It’s harder to get your feet adjusted. You can get your hands, if you’ve got good hands, adjusted. Take it to your backhand. But it’s your feet, not just coming out of your zone. It’s your feet entering the zone. It’s your feet how you take pucks to the net. It’s an adjustment. I wasn’t a very good skater, and there’s no way I could play the off-side, strictly because I couldn’t make that play. With the game being so much faster now, it’s a big adjustment. If Tyler’s able to do it, a big part of that is because he’s playing with great skaters. Right now, Kopi and Jeff can sort of manage that, where he maybe [got] caught between or ‘I’m not quite making the right play’ a little bit. But…it’s never going to bother him around the net because you’ve got the hands. Basically it’s a getting open thing. But the tough part is coming out, entering the zone, and then any time you get to play where you’ve got it on your stick, how you can get there, that’s a tough part. I’ve showed those guys lots – ‘Just look at your feet. Just watch your feet,’ and it doesn’t seem like much, but just that much is a big, big difference.
On the importance of finishing the pre-Olympic schedule on a positive note:
Well, you want ‘em to, but at the same time, I’m also, in the back of my mind thinking about guys who are going to the Olympics. Hey, the reason they got picked for their teams is they’re winners. Don’t forget that for one minute. That’s the one thing that they’re going to take with them to their teams – it doesn’t mean that they’re going to be best players, or role players, whatever they are – but they can take big games with them, always. They’ve been great performers in big games, so the Olympic guys, that’s kind of in the back of my mind with them, and the rest of them, obviously. If I spread it over 59 games, and we said our goal was to be a playoff team, to be in the top three in our division, then we can take that. I’m not dealing with anything else.
On any “need” to make changes, noting that Dean Lombardi is “talking to Edmonton”:
You have a 23-man roster. That’s what you deal with. You don’t deal with gossip, rumors, any of that. If we’d had won three in a row at home, you don’t ask those questions, and that’s really unfair to ask, really, quite honest. That’s not the way hockey works. It’s not the way it works. I mean, there’s a salary cap era, and there’s a roster. Why do you think there’s not much movement in the National Hockey League? There’s a salary cap. It’s not a 250-million dollar payroll. You deal with what you deal with. I mean, we’ve struggled lately. You know what? I think we’re going to win every game for the rest of the year, and somebody else might think we’re going to lose every game for the rest of the year. That’s the way I look at it. It’s got nothing to do with changing personnel or making changes. That’s just gossip. That’s in another column. It’s not that easy.
On whether he liked Matt Frattin’s performance in a fourth line role on Monday:
You know what? We’ve got to get something out of our fourth line. You know what? Richards’ line and the fourth line have struggled in the overall part of it. It’s not Matt Frattin. I mean, we’ve played Fratts with Richie for a while. You know what? At the end of the day, you’ve got to do more that work hard. There has to be some more. I’m really supportive of Fratts because he does work hard. But it’s still a results-oriented position and business. [Reporter: It looked like he was working, and it looked like he generated a pretty decent opportunity driving wide.] He’s a good skater. You’d think that’s what he could do.