On whether the Blackhawks are different at all from last year:
No. Very little. I mean, if you look at it from the last time we played ‘em and now, their five defensemen who play a lot are still the same five guys, and their big guys who play a lot are still the same guys. Their team, when you do all the numbers and all those stat things, they are the best team in the league right now.
On whether he moves Jeff Carter between center and wing based on how the Kings are playing, or based on how the opponent matches up:
I think both. I think when we went into this last trip…the top end of our forward group has really been up and down and inconsistent, when you look at it. The only group we haven’t split up lately is Stolly, Brownie and Willie because they’ve played well. Everybody else has had good games, bad games, trouble together, all that stuff. Until that sorts out, you know what? We’re playing three different defensemen than we did last year. The forwards are going to have to continue to take on different responsibilities. But with Jeff, Jeff has had trouble offensively lately, too. So it’s not really a position move for him. We put him with Tanner and Lewie a little bit to get some more speed there, quite honest. It was showing up that there wasn’t enough there, and with Kopi, you know what? Hey, we’re 20-something games in, and the clip is not – hey, it’s a 10-point clip. We don’t look at Kopi as a big goal guy, but we certainly look at him as a point every-other-game guy. For sure. For sure. So we just need a little bit more of it.
On recent improvements in curtailing shots against:
It’s irrelevant. You just don’t say ‘change defensemen’ and you’re going to automatically play the way you did. You have some guys who, quite honest, don’t have the experience, which means they don’t have the consistency in your game. And if you say ‘shots are coming down,’ you know what they come down? Do it. It’s 28-to-32. So it’s four-or-five a game, so again, it can be askew by the guys taking shots, it can be one shift – you look at the last game we played, just off the top of my head – a lot came on one or two shifts. One or two shifts. So you just see who’s on the ice, and see how you can improve that player a little bit. And a lot of it is our puck play. We had the puck before a lot of that stuff happens, and because you turn the puck over, three or four [shots] come out of it. So when you look at it logically, break it out, then it’s not as hard to figure out, or it’s more just getting the detail in individuals and then the expectations. Hey, it’s not just as easy as everyone thinks.