Sutter on superstitions, sticks and the schedule imbalance - LA Kings Insider

On the prevalence of superstitions:
There were probably more in the old days because you only had two or three sticks and a couple rolls of tape, and there was only white and black. The superstition was your game stick and your half a roll of Gordie Howe black. There wasn’t access to what the guys have now. Superstition was I think more based on away from the rink, probably – I would bet what they eat or where they eat or what time they leave, that structure of it. [Reporter: Were you in that category, as a player with sticks?] Well, again, we [used] wood sticks, and you wanted that. You always saved that stick that scored you a goal if somebody didn’t break it. You always saved it for the game. You see now when guys write on their sticks, one-two-three all down the line. Then we saved that one. And that’s not long ago. You were allowed 12 sticks a month in Chicago. [Reporter: They didn’t break as easily then.] No. It was a little bit more cost effective, I would think. Heck, my brother Brian – Brian was the captain in St. Louis and I was the captain in Chicago, and we wore the same skates and [used] the same sticks and we played each other a lot cause of the old Norris Division, so if he was short of sticks, I always brought one or two for him, and if I was needing a pair of skates, we got ‘em. You know what? That’s what you did. [Reporter: That was always the most fun when I was a kid. You’d mess around with your sticks, and your mom would get you a new stick.] Again, not that long ago, wood sticks weren’t consistent. The way they’re consistent now, there’s very little done on ‘em with what they do. They’re basically ready to go. There was a lot of inconsistency in terms of ounces or thickness or weight in the shaft or length. There was a lot more indiscrepancy in your [sticks]. It was way different. We were heating blades up, and in the last two or three years, basically anything goes for your blade. Pretty much anything goes. But then, you’d take the string out and do it on your blade, and if you could put a dime through it, you were illegal. That’s what we did. That’s what you always had – heat it up and straighten it out a little bit. And they used to measure once in a while on the ice. They’d take a skate lace and a dime. That’s how they’d measure it. Skate lace, heel-to-toe, and a dime. If the dime went through it, then you had an illegal stick. It’s not that long ago. [Reporter: The funny thing is [Dustin Brown] said Simon Gagne used to actually weigh his sticks.] You know, Simon was probably right on the edge of that, where your sticks were inconsistent. Now, they’ve changed so much I think sometimes it hurts some of the guys. You look at Brownie, how much he’s changing skates and sticks, that means that they’re trying to find the right thing, which is not always the right way. [Reporter: Well, I guess he won’t be changing anything now for a while.] Well, hopefully the Eastern Bunny comes and he can really have a good three or four games here.

On the factors leading to the Kings’ success at home:
Because we’re a consistently good team. You don’t get points easy in this league. If you can take it to the next step, and you can do the home-road differences in individuals, and then when you do it yourself, there’s no real answer for it other than we’ve been a consistently really good team. How do you win Stanley Cups? How do you go to conference championships? That’s how. And again, this year, it’s what’s allowed us still, with five games left, to still be in a playoff race. [Reporter: With all the arenas being sort of the same almost – certainly the ice surface and the size and the dimensions are the same – how are teams so good at home?] You’ve got to give our team lots of credit at home this year, because everybody that comes in here now talks about it. ‘They’re a two-time Stanley Cup champion and they’re conference finalists. You’ve got to give our team a lot of credit for what they did at home this year. It’s not easy games for teams coming in here. They know what’s going on, and they’re ready for it, and it’s probably affected our road performance too, because teams – same way, same thing. There are teams that have good regular seasons and they talk about what game they’re going to win in the playoffs and where they’re going to be in the playoffs and all that stuff, but they don’t do it in the playoffs. They’re popular and get lots of attention, but they don’t do it in the playoffs. And there are good teams that go home now in the first round – really good teams. Sometimes the first round teams are actually better series in terms of match-ups than the Stanley Cup Final. And that’s part of the division, you know, what we went to, and that’s the way it used to be. The divisions were set up like that. [Reporter: You and San Jose last year.] That’s the way it’s set up. It’s so crazy, and you’ve got 16 on one side, 14 this side, and then the way the divisions are. Hey, every team that’s been a top-level team in their division, everybody else in the division now sets up to beat them. There’s no slide in it anymore. There’s zero slide. You want to look at it really closely, just look at Colorado. Colorado won that division last year. Won the division. [Reporter: 112 points, I think they had?] I’m not sure, but they won the division. [Reporter: I’m just curious. When they make the schedule, because it’s unbalanced, last year you played Edmonton four times, and this year you play Arizona four times-] It changes every year. As long as they leave the system in place, it has to change every year. [Reporter: Is it just by ‘the computer?’ It just arbitrarily selects one team that you’ll play four times?] You’d know more about it, quite honest, than I would. It is a rotation, but how it kicks out, I have no idea. [Reporter: And would they put L.A.-Anaheim for four games, because of the rivalry?] It has to be. It has to change. Beecause one year it’s four, and the other year it’s five. And the same with divisions, home-and-away. Two-and-one. [Reporter: Until Las Vegas.] That’s the other thing, too, when you look at it. Hey, [teams have] anywhere from two to [five] games left, meaning Anaheim has played 80 and there are teams that have played 77. If you look at it, on our side, there are 12 teams that…could be playoff teams. On the other side, you can’t say that. If you’re that six, you’re still a legit playoff team. If you’re out of that, you’re out. And if you look at the 16-team and the 14-team, there’s still something there that doesn’t balance out. It’s not a true assessment of what’s going on in the league. There’s nothing we can do about it until we get more or less teams.

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