May 25 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter
On his philosophy on matching lines, and whether it has remained constant:
No, I think the rules – not this past lockout, Eric, the one before that – it’s tough to change on the fly, really tough. When they took the red line out, the hooking and holding, there’s not much match-up on the fly now. You’re trying to get guys off while the game’s going on, you’re getting caught in odd-man situations a lot. So it’s still a good match-up for us – Kopitar versus Toews. That’s clearly a good match-up, but there’s also times where it’s dictated by what’s just happened on the ice, maybe if it’s after a penalty. I believe our fourth line should be able to take three or four shifts a game against that line. If they can’t, they shouldn’t be in the lineup. There’s somebody coming out of the lineup. If they can’t give you one of those shifts somewhere in the game against whoever it is – if it’s Stolly on faceoffs, or Mike on a faceoff, or Mike on a change, it doesn’t matter. You have to be able to do that, otherwise you’re still not playing. And you know I don’t like doing that, where it’s a one-four thing. I don’t think you can win that way.
On how he motivates the team:
I think you just try and be fair and be honest, and it’s sometimes, not always, good for the player because it’s based on ice time or something like that. And it’s always what’s best for the group. As long as everybody understands that, it’s not a problem.
On the team’s resiliency after they “continually fall behind”:
We don’t ‘continually fall behind.’ I mean, if somebody scores a goal, does that mean you ‘continually fall behind?’ [Reporter: Three straight games.] Oh, OK. So we continually fall behind…[Reporter: They were 8-0 going into the series when scoring first, and you guys have stopped that streak the last two games. Pretty impressive.] Yep. Got to break that streak. We’re playing in the middle of May. We’ve got to break some bad habits.
On how playing with Willie Mitchell helps Slava Voynov:
Slava plays with everybody. If Robyn was healthy, he’d be playing with him. It’s a situation thing. Marty plays with Slava. Muzz plays with Slava on the power play. It’s a righty-lefty deal.
On the importance of winning Game 4:
It’s the fourth game. We’re playing the Stanley Cup champion. If you go into every game thinking it’s an elimination game, that’s a good way of doing it. That’s what we’ll do again, and when it’s over, it’ll be over, and we’ll get ready for the next elimination game. It’s not as complicated as it seems. It’s a series, and it’s the first team that can win four games. Sometimes it can take seven.
On any “common trait” in players who are drafted and developed by Los Angeles:
Well, for sure, what they have to do is learn how to train. They have to train to be an NHLer first and foremost, because they’re drafted when they’re 18 and they’re boys. Unless they’re a free agent out of school or a 20-year-old undrafted player, you’re drafting ‘em when they’re boys and you get to see them develop. First off, they have to do that, and then I think an adjustment – and you can talk to the kids – but for sure, an adjustment is when they turn pro is learning the pro lifestyle, and they should learn it at the American League level first, and then the next part of that is the adjustment from the American League level to the National Hockey League level in terms of how you practice. It’s still always an issue when players come here is the pace of the National Hockey League, and you have to practice at that pace. Those are three pretty big things when you talk about it. First, you’ve got to train. Most of the kids are going to get stronger and get bigger, and then the lifestyle, that’s a big one, and then it’s not just ‘to play here,’ be able to help your team.
On whether it will be difficult for Chicago to get the “upper hand” if the Kings keep playing the way they’ve been playing:
I don’t think there’s really the ‘upper hand.’ First off, both teams have to maximize everybody’s – whatever you want to call it – skill set. Last night we had guys that weren’t on their game. We know that they can play better. That’s saying that we’ll concentrate on ourselves, not on the Blackhawks.
On the energy in Staples Center for Game 3:
It was great last night. I think Chicago has its own special [atmosphere]. When you go there, that’s not something that just happens. Instead of a playoff game there, that’s all the time there, and it was good for our building to rival that last night or to saw it off. [Reporter: Is it important for your guys, too? Did you feel they were feeding off it really well?] Well, the question yesterday morning was ‘What was wrong with us at home?’
On Bob Pulford’s influence on him:
I spent a lot of time with Pully. He was my first coach as a player. He was the general manager and coach. I remember watching him on TV. I remember him being on the ice, black and white TV, the last time Toronto won the Stanley Cup and they pulled the goalie and scored in ht eempty net. He’s been close to my family now for a long time. It was good to see him.
On the team’s attitude:
Well, we talk a lot about our attitude and having a good attitude and not one that’s a negative one or a losing one. We’re always trying to stay in the right place. A mainstay of our team is it’s not just at playoffs. It’s all the time about ‘If the game’s over, the game’s over.’ Start the next game. That’s the best approach you can have nowadays with the way the schedule is and with the diversity in the roster. When it’s over, it’s over. Take two or three good things and correct a couple things and away you go again.
On whether he considers himself someone who pays heavy attention to detail:
Yep. [Reporter: The reason I ask is last year when you guys played in the playoffs, we were on the glass doing some television thing. It was three hours before the puck drop, and you were checking to see that the lip of the ice wasn’t too high so your guys wouldn’t trip over it when they came on the ice. That I’ve never seen.] I’m working underground trying to help the league with their ice surfaces and their boards. [Reporter: Do you make some money with that?] No, not yet. There is a paying job there, though.