March 19 morning skate quotes: Darryl Sutter

A day after analyzing Anze Kopitar’s game, Darryl Sutter shared his thoughts on Drew Doughty’s performance during a stretch in which the Kings defenseman has risen from a minus-10 rating to a minus-one in under a month’s time.

On whether he’s been happy with Drew Doughty’s play:
“Drew’s been awesome. I can pick three or four mistakes out all year. Literally. The only thing I try and do is keep pressure off him because he hasn’t scored. There are times during games where he forces it where he doesn’t have to. It’s like I tell him, ‘Just beat one. You don’t have to beat five.’ Because if you beat one, there’s a good chance you’re making a good enough play that somebody else is going to be open. It’s hard for a young guy to do it still. It’s still a struggle out there…Are we happy with him? Of course we’re happy with him. [He’s] a guy that plays 26 minutes on a team that’s six games over .500 at his age.”

On Doughty shooting the puck frequently:
“He misses the net a lot and he gets shots blocked a lot, but I can’t help him with that and neither can you.”

On whether Doughty should pick his spots on when attempting to use the impressive “one-man breakout” he used in the first period against Phoenix last night:
“Well, if you do that all the time, you’re not a very good player. You’re Brian Campbell in Florida. You’ll be minus-20 and we’ll see you on the highlights. But you’re on a bad team, and you’re a high-minus player. So this is not a movie about a star, right? He’s a good first-pass guy, and if he’s good in his own zone – hey, it tells you where he is now from the start of the year. At the start of the year, he was a minus-10. So in the last three weeks, he’s a plus-eight. So where does that start? It starts in your own zone. Good first pass. Don’t have to beat five guys. Make a good first pass. Not many guys are capable of doing it at high speed, under pressure, and knowing full well that the other team is coming after [you]. Not many players can do that.”

On Doughty being stuck at zero goals:
“Who cares? Maybe he’ll score three tonight. A defenseman’s always one game away from being at his career average.”

On whether being stuck at zero goals weighs on Doughty:
“I don’t think it [does], but I don’t lay him down on the table and ask him that. It’s about winning. It’s one thing you take from winning a championship – when you talk to the players, they just want to win. It’s not about goals and assists. It’s about winning, and you try and just keep everybody in line.”

On whether teams’ performances have a tendency to rise and fall during extended homestands:
“Well, I suppose it [does], but you try and find different ways of motivating…even though we’re creatures of habit, you still try and find ways to break it during that time. Different ways of preparing them, different ways of showing things, just try and find different ways of doing it. It might be somebody else saying it. Try and get more out of four or five players. Expect more out of your leadership group. Challenge different groups of guys different days. Make sure some guys feel pressure to be better. Make sure some guys are comfortable. Probably one example is putting Toffoli in. We didn’t bring him here…not to play him, but I just felt, ‘you know what? Richards and Carter both have been struggling. Let’s take a look at Toffoli. Jordy needs a kick in the ass.’ Just things like that. Anything that can just keep it a little off helps.”

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