Darryl Sutter will be making his third trip to the Western Conference Finals as an NHL head coach. In 1995, Sutter coached the Chicago Blackhawks in a five-game loss to the Detroit Red Wings. In 2004, Sutter coached the Calgary Flames to a six-game victory over the San Jose Sharks. Today, Sutter shared his initial thoughts about facing the Phoenix Coyotes, and whether he and the coaching staff immediately started doing video work…
SUTTER: “They’ve played two series and we’ve played two series, so you can do a lot of breaking down as you go along, of all your opponents, not just for playoffs for future use.”
Question: These teams haven’t played each other since mid-February. Have both teams changed a lot since then?
SUTTER: “(Antoine) Vermette has been a really good addition for their team. Other than that, we’re pretty familiar with their group.”
Question: Today, a number of the players were talking about the Coyotes’ team speed. Is that something for you to keep an eye on?
SUTTER: “They’re a really fast team, and it’s right through their lineup. It’s not like it’s top end and then there’s a drop-off. It’s right through their lineup. Obviously they have two really top-end defensemen that make an impact on that, in Yandle and Ekman-Larsson. So it’s not like, on a lot of teams there’s a top end and a bottom end. I don’t think, with their team, that that is there. I think it’s a quick team, right through their lineup. There are probably similarities, in that, with ours also.”
Question: You talked, after the St. Louis series, about not having too much of a break between series. Were you glad to see Phoenix win last night, just to sort of have both teams on a similar schedule?
SUTTER: “No. It’s always better to see them play more games. I think we’ve discussed that enough, as far as home teams, visiting teams. If you look at our last series, I think we had six days (to prepare) and St. Louis had seven. I said, (as to) who would benefit, that I would tell you after Game 1, then after Game 2, then after the series was over. Injuries play so much into it, as you go along. How you manage your injuries, how you manage your days off, as individuals and as a team, and how you manage your rest is a big factor in the playoffs. So, it’s like (asking) about the first thing you did. Well, the first thing we (looked at) is, your travel is less, which is better for everybody.”