Good afternoon from El Segundo. There wasn’t a ton to report from today’s practice, which was separated into two groups. The power play group took the ice first, with a second group taking the ice at 11:00 a.m. and ultimately skating through a width-of-the-ice three-on-three drill, similar to what the team worked on when practicing in southern New Jersey two weeks ago. As of now, the team isn’t scheduled to practice on Thursday.
I spoke with both Dustin Brown and Darryl Sutter after practice to learn more about the variance in one-goal games and overtimes over the last several seasons. Expect a story to come out this afternoon, as well as a story in the next 24 hours that focuses on the Kings’ attendance, marketing and television ratings. The full transcript of my conversation with Sutter is below.
Darryl Sutter, on whether there are any plans for Matt Greene to be around the team more than other injured players because of his tenure and leadership stature:
I was made aware of it yesterday. [Reporter: So it’s still too early to kind of gauge and assess it?] I just go on what you guys say, how long he’s going to be out, and then we’ll decide. He missed the whole year two years ago … it’s not like we’re doing something that’s new to us. We’re actually very familiar with Greener and what he’s had to go through. [Reporter: During that year, was he treated just like any other injured player, or was he around more just because he’s a leader on this team and he wears an A?] Well, once you have surgery, then you start your rehabilitation and your therapy. He has long days ahead of him.
Sutter, on whether the surplus of one-goal games represents league parity, or whether the strong record indicates that the Kings have simply been playing well and winning games:
Well, we played very well last year, too. It was one of the best records in the history of the organization, and the difference between right now and last year at this time would be overtimes. They were one-goal games, too. To answer your question, they were one-goal games. [Reporter: What have you liked just about the overtime, that the Kings are now 4-0 in games decided in overtime?] We’ve managed to score three-on-three. We didn’t play three-on-three last year. [Reporter: Is there anything other than the world-class players on this team that have led the Kings to be better than other teams?] Generally three-on-threes are all teams’ best players on the ice that have the ability to seal the deal for you. I think that – who’s been out on the ice when we’ve sealed the deal? Kopitar, Carter, and I guess Gaborik the game before. Usually Drew, Marty and Muzz. It’s no deep, dark story that you’re trying to write. I mean, one-goal games, if you only base it on last year, why don’t you go the year before, or the year before that? Most games are one-goal games. Take out an empty net, take out an overtime. [Reporter: So do you just see it as a variable year-to-year that there’s not a ton of correlation? Is it random, then?] To answer what you asked, last year it was overtimes. The year before that, the year before, we had an outstanding overtime and we won the Stanley Cup. Last year we didn’t make the playoffs. We had 96 points.