April 1 practice notes, Darryl Sutter quotes - LA Kings Insider

Good afternoon from Toyota Sports Center, where the Kings practiced at 11:00 a.m. in advance of Saturday’s matinee against the Dallas Stars. Friday practices in advance of Saturday afternoon games often reveal lineup clues, though the thrust of the team’s practice involved special teams, and players weren’t color coded by line. Kris Versteeg is on the verge of a return, one that could come tomorrow. But other than a potential Versteeg return, there were no clear hints towards any lineup changes that Darryl Sutter might implement versus Dallas. Jonathan Quick left the ice first at practice and should be expected to start against the Stars.

I’ll have some stories on Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty and a SolarCity video later today, but before we go any farther, here are today’s Darryl Sutter quotes:

On the focus with five games remaining after having clinched a playoff berth:
Just focus on the individual part of it and keep the X and O’s in place. I think the veteran group, the leadership part of it, has been really sending the same message, trying to get guys to make sure they’re playing as well as they can.

On what he attributes Drew Doughty’s rise in offense this year to:
We’re a playoff team. If we weren’t, you wouldn’t talk about that. Very clear. I think the individual stuff is way blown out of proportions, way out of line. I think the individual stuff I’d be interested in now, if we’re only talking about one player getting all the recognition, why wouldn’t Jonathan Quick, who’s in the top five in every category be a nominee, or how about talking about Vincent Lecavalier, which is even better being recognized by his teammates for a major award, which may be the ultimate compliment you could get, or what Kopitar does for the team? I’m not answering the individual stuff. If we wouldn’t have been a playoff team two weeks ago, then I probably wouldn’t have even talked about it.

On Doughty’s offensive production had he played in the Smythe Division years:
Well, everybody said he had his best year in one of the worst years in Kings history, so I can’t believe Drew would agree with that. I would say Drew would say his best years would be winning a Stanley Cup, being a great player in the playoffs, going to a conference finals, winning a Stanley Cup, playing in All-Star Games, playing in the Olympics. He would definitely say those would be his best seasons. So he was able to get team accomplishments this year by being a playoff team again, having a chance at a division title, which he hasn’t had, all those things I would guarantee you that Drew would rather talk about than those things.

On when he realized that Jonathan Quick was a “special” player:
Oh, I think I knew that coming in. Part of being a good coach, there’s three things that are really important to being a good coach – having a really good goalie, having a really good defenseman, having a really good centerman. Those three were in place here with Jonathan, Drew and Kopi.

On Quick’s aversion to talking about individual accomplishments:
Hey, winning matters. At the end of the day, winning matters. There’s a lot of goalies that when you give up two or three goals that their game changes not for the better, where Jonathan is about winning and having to make big saves and that sort of thing. You’ve even seen it lately. We’ve played a lot of really close games. Take the empty nets out, and there’s so much changes in one shift, meaning a big save at one end and a goal at the other end, and it becomes even more prevalent for a playoff team. You can win, but you don’t win consistently without that guy over a long period of time. It’s why you see the best 10 goalies, or it’s probably even smaller than that in the league now, that play 60-to-70 games. There’s a reason why. They give their teams the best chance to win those 60 or 70 games. They’re the most important player.

On what stands out with the Dallas Stars:
They’re a playoff team. Last year they weren’t.

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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


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.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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


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.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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


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.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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


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.