January 20 practice notes, Darryl Sutter quotes - LA Kings Insider

Good afternoon from El Segundo, where there wasn’t much to report from on the ice today. As you’ll see quite a bit at this time of the year, if there’s one full day at home between games, the full team won’t necessarily skate and will instead watch video, meet with coaches and work out. This was one of those days, as Jhonas Enroth, Kyle Clifford, Christian Ehrhoff and Jordan Nolan took the ice with Rob Blake, Bill Ranford and Mike O’Connell. They were soon joined by…Matt Leinart!

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Despite hailing from Orange County, Matt and his son are big Kings fans and took the ice to tape a segment that will air during next week’s Kings Weekly. Oof, my pride.

There wasn’t as much to report on other than the Leinarts taking the ice. As noted yesterday, Kyle Clifford is continuing to work his way back to game shape, and other than having to build up his conditioning, he feels fine. He’s getting close.

Darryl Sutter, on the other hand, provided a great amount of content. He thoroughly covered several interesting topics, including Tyler Toffoli’s play and the use of plus/minus as a statistic. His quotes are below; be on the lookout for a Toffoli story later this afternoon.

Darryl Sutter, on the changes between the first and second periods Tuesday night:
We needed to try and play below their goal line more. The first period last night, we didn’t have too many touches below their goal line, which means that we’re not skating. A lot of it came after Jeff drew a penalty with his speed. It’s still our top guys. Once our top guys got going last night, we were better. We had some guys struggle the whole night, but we kind of just battled through it and I kind of was careful how much they played. I think the Kopitar line gave us a lot again last night. I liked Jeff and Tanner and Vinny.

Sutter, on Tyler Toffoli developing his 200-foot game:
I think he was drafted as a really good two-way player. I’ve said that before. He was a great penalty killer in junior, he lead the Ontario league in shorthanded goals, and if you look at the last year that he played in junior, the line he played on with Monahan and the Prince boy who played the other night, it was a pretty high-end line. They played 18 or 20 games in the playoffs his last year of junior. Hey, he’s a more mature player now. He’s following the same path that we want. Look at a boy like Mike Mersch. The same path, the very same. Tanner – the very same.

Sutter, on Toffoli’s plus/minus rating, and whether he puts stock in that stat:
He’s played a complete game. He plays with good players. It means you’re on the ice for a lot of goals for. … You know, everybody says, ‘well, that’s not a real stat.’ It’s a real stat. For sure it is. If you look at a team like ours, when you’re always good in goals for and against differential and you do that mostly five-on-five, not four-on-four or three-on-three – you do it mostly on that – it’s a pretty telling stat. So if you’ve got guys on the right side of the ledger that are high and guys that aren’t, there’s a difference in what you’re getting out of those players in terms of quality when you have the puck or the other team has it, for sure. I would say an overview of Tyler, he was that last year too, before he got sick and his game dropped off and it was hard to get his energy back. But I’d say the biggest difference in Tyler’s development is just his training. His skill set hasn’t changed, he’s better trained, so he’s a stronger player and he’s probably a little step quicker in situations that only we would recognize or if he’s fighting somebody off or putting somebody on his back or getting inside on a defenseman – things like that. It doesn’t happen by accident, or ‘he was lucky.’ That doesn’t happen in our game now. There’s very little luck involved because of the evenness of it all. They say the ‘parity in teams,’ well, there’s parity in who you play against, too. I’m able to for the most part play him more because of that. If you could see the biggest difference in his game in the last few years, it’s who he’s on the ice against and situations he’s used in. So, if you look at the last few games, his minutes, they’re pretty much tied to Kopi. Other than Kopi faceoffs, he’s pretty much tied to him. So you’re looking for the quality, and if he can handle it, then you can give him more.

Sutter, on Minnesota’s fundamentally sound play:
Yeah, they’re a fast team. The puck works really well for them. You can speed your game up, but what’d you do with the puck? They do it as a group of five really well. They play a game, quite honest, it’s division-related. You want to emulate the best team in the league, you emulate the Chicago Blackhawks. So, in their division, they try and emulate Chicago. It’s really close.

Sutter, on preparing for strong offensive and defensive teams this week:
If you make your team aware of the different types – especially when you think about the last two games, we hadn’t played those teams this year. So that should be important, and also, when you say ‘we haven’t played ‘em,’ well, we have players who have played ‘em very little in their careers, if you look at those teams. Knowing personnel is what you have to make sure guys know, and a little bit of system play because they are totally different styles – Dallas and Anaheim, totally. They’re like at each end of the spectrum in terms of style of play

Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.
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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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