Several flash notes:
The Kings didn’t skate on Monday and instead opted for off-ice workouts and meetings. This isn’t a surprise at all; Tuesday’s game will be their fourth in a six-day span. (Darryl Sutter prefers to think of it as a seven-in-12.)
There’s no new news on call-ups at this time, though Jeff Zatkoff, who is still currently on injured reserve, is expected to take the ice tomorrow, per goaltending coach Bill Ranford. There’s no updated timeline on when he might be available again for the team. I’ll share several notes on goaltending later this afternoon.
Darryl Sutter, on the first nine games of the season:
I think our mission statement clearly as a group is just stay in the race. I think we have a really good handle on where we’re at because of our injuries and because of the way the division is. We have a really good handle on it and we’re not going to lose sight of that. We’re not going to get high-low. We’re going to keep our realistic expectations for our group. You can use injuries as an excuse because of the quality of players that we’ve lost, but we won’t use it. We’ll use it as we’re going to play as well as we can, and we have played as well as we can. Quite honest these two games, say what you want, but when you go on the road and you only give up three goals, plus an empty-netter, you should come home with points. You should. You can dissect and break it and critique it all you want, but at the end of the day you should come home with points.
Sutter, on the goal to remain in the playoff race:
I just think the division’s better, and that’s easy to rationalize that. Calgary improved their goaltending situation by 50%, and Edmonton, if Connor wouldn’t have gotten hurt last year, they’d have been a much better team, and with the additions they’ve made, hey, it’s legit. The way the division is now, it’s three teams, and then the wild cards. So you’ve got to stay in the race, and that’s what we’ll do. It won’t be like a 10-game evaluation or a two-game evaluation. We look at it like we’re in a seven-game-in-12-day thing, and we’re going into the fifth game tomorrow, so we’ve done pretty well.
Sutter, on the difference between the last two games the team played:
Yeah, because they’re different-type teams. I mean, that would be the difference. Again, you guys are into criticizing, I’m into analyzing, right? So I said, I’m not separating the two games. They’re two games in a really short period of time. It’s a tough turnaround, a very tough turnaround. You go seven o’clock, six o’clock, right? We’d seen in the first period in the second game what we talked about. They were going to come out, we were going to try and get our legs under us, and that’s the way it was. Not much different.
Sutter, on the injury bug, and the Kings having weathered injuries before:
Irregardless of what the result is, there’s a bunch of us in here that trust each other, and that’s what makes it good, always. You can sit with Brownie and Greener and the guys – it’s not easy. You can trust each other. That’s what’s important, always. [Reporter: Is that something that comes from all the big moments that that core has had together?] Yeah, I think and being together, because there’s always outside pulls on you, right? If you go look through the last year, there was a lot of outside that it looks like it pulls away from your team but actually pulls your team [together], gives you strength. Doesn’t pull you apart.
Sutter, on Nic Dowd and several new players integrating quickly:
I think those guys that are playing a little bit here now that have come through the program, they were here most of the summer. They know what’s expected. They’ve trained with the guys upstairs and they have to move on. They have to show they can produce at the NHL level, not necessarily in terms of numbers, but in terms of success. These new guys we’re putting in aren’t exactly young guys. They’re guys that either went through the whole school program and then went a couple years in the American League, so they shouldn’t be ‘adjusting.’ They should be actually helping. [Reporter: It’s funny you mention that, because Dowd, he doesn’t look 26.] I mean, quite honest, Dowder’s older than some of the forwards. Cliffy, Andy, so he’s older than those guys. I don’t even think he’s classed as a rookie, is he? Because of age. [Reporter: He turned 26, I think, after September 15, or something like that. It’s close.] You know what? He didn’t start the year, because he wasn’t quite ready for this, and we’re still, I think we’ll see in back-to-backs, and we’ll see over the course of lots of games here where his game’s at.