October 30 morning skate quotes: John Stevens

On the team embracing tonight’s challenge at the end of a road trip:
We’ve been curious every night, to be honest with you. Every team presents a little bit different challenges. We don’t look at this as the end of the trip. The toughest part of the trip was the first part of the trip when we had three games in four days, and St. Louis is on the third game in four days here, and we’re on the end of the trip. We’re looking at it as a big game. We had a day of rest yesterday and have to get our energy back up where it needs to be and we’re focusing on one game right now.

On whether the Kings and Blues are similar teams:
I think so. I mean, their numbers are very similar. I’ve watched St. Louis since the start of the year. They’ve had a lot of injuries, and their biggest focus, I think, has been on their team game. I think because of that, they’ve been able to absorb a lot of injuries and still have a lot of success. I think their team game is very good, and the other thing is their defense has scored 13 goals in 12 games. I think it was as St. Louis record, so obviously there are some things they’re doing that are really getting their defense involved in the offense, and we’ve got to be aware of that.

On the Kings and Blues’ reinforced team games and side-by-side evolution:
Well, their team game has always been really sound. Certainly when Hitch was here, he’s known for that. I think he does a tremendous job. And Mike’s introduced them some new ideas offensively, I think. But I think their team game’s always been part of their identity here. Their defense is big. They’re big and they move, and I think that’s probably the one thing that’s changed. They’ve implemented some young guys in their lineup, and they still have some real key core guys around them. They’ve done a great job with it.

On whether he remembers Brayden Schenn’s tenure in Los Angeles:
Quite a bit. He obviously was a kid we had for not a lot of time, but just a really good, gritty offensive player. He’s one of those guys that has great offensive instincts and skills but has got a little edge to his game as well. I was certainly following him when he was in Philadelphia there and seen him have some success. Not surprising. He’s kind of matured now. I think he’s become a more well-rounded player, but definitely still is a dangerous offensive player. [Reporter: Do you think that the Blues have now got him back to his natural position kind of rejuvenated him here a little bit?] St. Louis to me, it looks like they’ve really thrown some trust towards their players. I think they’ve asked them to be responsible in certain areas of the game, and I think that’s a trade off with those players, and it looks like he’s really embraced that idea. But I know when he was at the World Junior and really set the world on fire from the center ice position, I think there was just probably a level of trust that there he had to learn to stay there, and it looks like he’s done it.

On Alex Iafallo and Tanner Pearson bringing more to the table than production:
I think they’re a little bit different. In Alex’s case, I think he’s really brought an element to the line that complements the people he’s with, so the line’s had a lot of success. He hasn’t produced a lot, but he’s had really good chances. He creates a lot with his element on the line. He gets on pucks, he turns pucks over, he’s a really good forechecker, he makes support plays, he’s responsible, so the two guys he’s with have had a tremendous amount of success in terms of numbers. But if there’s a third assist in hockey, he’d have a lot of them. With Tanner, I think Tanner kind of got off to a little bit of a slow start, but I think he’s had a good trip. Like, I think he’s really worked hard. I think he’s really starting to move his feet, get involved, win a lot of battles. He’s created a lot of turnovers that led to offense for us, and again, I think both of those guys are what I would call process players where the process is more important than the result sometimes, and they’re a big part of the process. As long as they keep doing the little things well, I think the results are going to follow.

-Lead photo via Dilip Vishwanat/NHLI

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