On getting Anze Kopitar back at practice:
Obviously he’s feeling better than he did the last 36 hours.
On the San Jose season series:
Quite a bit different games. Obviously the first game, Quick gets hurt. The second game, gave up a couple goals in a quick couple minutes there, I think, didn’t we? I’m just trying to think back. Turnover and an odd-man, and then the third game here was 3-2, close game, and obviously the last game was overtime. Quite a bit different games. A lot of different lineups, both teams.
On whether it’s fair to say Brayden McNabb needs to “get up to speed”:
It is a fair assessment – get up to speed, show some emotion, show some determination, show some physicality, show some quickness. We’ve got three defensemen – Forbort, Gravel and McNabb – that are all sort of in the same position in terms of we need to get a lot more out of them if we’re going to be a playoff team. [Reporter: I guess just as a follow-up, it looked like before he got injured, that was a really high level of play. Is it something that’s a byproduct of just having to come back from a two-month injury?] I’m sure that you can ask him those questions and that he could answer better than we could. We gave him every opportunity since he got hurt to come back and do those things.
On Brent Burns:
I think it’s the same dynamics as talking about Drew Doughty in terms of what they bring to their team. They’re guys that play big situations, play a lot, a big part of the identities of their clubs. It’s why they’re star players. [Reporter: Is that a key for a team in the NHL these days, having that blue liner who can do that like Drew or Brent Burns?] I would think every team would want to have one of those. I’m just thinking about our division, it’s certainly elements of teams.
On whether the team prepares for the next stretch of games as the pre-All-Star Break slate:
I think we look at this month, the way it was. We started with a road game with San Jose, and then the last trip beside these long trips and long stands, and it’s been funny like that this year. Quite honest, I’ve never been through it. And also this month, the reason that we did it like that was because of the disparity. I mean, you’d think you’d be playing more division games when you look at it. We only play three division games – the two against San Jose, and then one, I think, Arizona – is that right? – and then everything else, we play a bunch of out-of-conference games. It’s been an interesting month in the teams that we’ve played. We’ve done really well in the conference, and if I just look at the last handful of games, other than the Detroit game we could’ve won every game. We finish at home tomorrow, and we go again for those four eastern games. Get through the month again.
On whether he likes the bye week, which leads to a more compressed schedule:
No. No. No. No. It’s been an awful schedule this year. We have to do a better job with our schedule, that’s for sure, to go on the road for that long of time, and then be at home for lengths of time. It’s not a good schedule. [Reporter: What’s the ideal road trip, four or five games? No more than five?] I’d say that’s lots, but it’s not normal. [Reporter: That time off they’re giving every team, is that enough to catch up for all the threes-in-fours?] What do you mean, that break that they get? [Reporter: Yeah.] I don’t think you ever ‘catch up.’ I mean, you don’t get the [—-] beat out of you and then go lay there for two days and think you feel better in real life, do you? You don’t get the [—-] beat out of you and go lay in the hospital and go lay in the hospital for five days and come back, say, ‘oh, I’m better now.’ I can’t imagine that – these guys are people. [Reporter: So you don’t expect that bye week necessarily counteracts?] Hey, I’m thankful the players get it, because if I was a player, I’d want it, too. [Reporter: But you pay for it the other way with the compressed schedule. Hey, we’ve already paid for it. Kopitar missed – everybody says then I’m bitching and moaning, but I’m not. Every team is going through it. [Reporter: You think it’s affected the quality of play league-wide?] I would think it’d have to. If you look at yesterday, you play as well as you can, but if you take your number one center out of the lineup, and you’ve already played for so long without your only 30-goal scorer and without your goalie, you’re not going to be perfect every night, but you’d say, ‘Jeez, we played good enough to win.’ Hey, I was talking to Steve Yzerman there last night after the game. Same thing. It’s easy from the outside to evaluate your team, but when you see your schedule and you see what’s going on in your room, then you just have realistic expectations. I’ve always said that. It had nothing to do with this year. Scheduling and injruies and officiating determine a big part of where the league’s at now because the league is about parity, and it’s so close. Those three things do impact a lot. [Reporter: You still play the same number of games-] No, there are more games, more teams. Just think about it from our standpoint, we’re all on the same team here, how many of you actually go to every game? [There are] guys who don’t travel with us who cover games, you think about how hard it is on those extended trips for you guys. It’s hard. [Reporter: Is the All-Star Break a bit more valuable this season, maybe, considering the schedule?] It’s good. It’s here. Guys don’t have to travel – the guys who are playing. It’s much better. We want as many of your own guys as possible, but the way it is, you pick 11. If they did it by conference, a different format, there would be different looking players. [Reporter: Will Chris be involved at all? He had a really good time at the last two.] He didn’t make the team. He volunteered. [Reporter: Wouldn’t it be great if he’d be around?] Oh, he’ll want to be around, but I’m not sure. It’ll be a good event, just a lot of pressure on the Pacific Division. [Reporter: Is there a home ice advantage?] I don’t know. They won 1-0 last year. Shouldn’t forget that. [Reporter: Quick and Gibson.] 11 guys. 11 players.