November 18 morning skate quotes: Darryl Sutter

On what it was like to coach Willie Mitchell during two Stanley Cup runs:
Obviously when I came in December that first year, we had Willie for the rest, and we always said that was unique because we played six defensemen the whole way, and Willie was one of them, and he was a good partner for Slava…And then he missed the whole second year. He wasn’t here. And then last year was, again, a Cup year. He missed a lot of games in the playoffs, too. I mean, we wanted him to play Game 7 I believe against Anaheim, because he hadn’t played a Game 7 in the playoffs with us. So I remember talking to him about that and how he was gunned up for that. [Reporter: He seemed like maybe not a unique guy, but maybe a different personality from some of the guys. He’d talk a lot about fishing and free range salmon and stuff like that.] I think he’s from Northern B.C. there. That’s what they do. [Reporter: Can you identify with that, even though you’re maybe from a different background as a player? You get guys who are vastly different and somehow mesh together?] Well, you’re not going to get all the same. I mean, you’re trying to win, so we have a lot of different personalities. It’s not unique in any way to have different personalities as long as they have a common goal. [Reporter: Willie said he’s going to try and say hi to you but he said you might be too much in game mode tonight to say hi.] I’m going to see him before the game.

On the report that the pre-overtime dry scrape may be scrapped:
Well, I think it was a concern in preseason, but I think it’s gotten a lot better. [Reporter: Has it? They sped it up.] Yeah, I think when you do it, and I do it all the time, it’s actually in some instances from preseason three minutes faster. So which means that the guys driving the tractors and the guys scraping the ice figure it out a little more. [Reporter: I can’t remember who I was talking to, but somebody was worried that one of these days a player might get hit stretching a little bit.] Preseason it was, because a lot of guys- [Reporter: They’re not paying attention.] Well, it’s a new rule, and the benches aren’t big enough for everybody to sit on, so there are guys out on the ice. I mean, when you look at the rules when everybody’s supposed to be on the bench and you come out for the period, there are some teeams that come out and there’s 20 guys skating around. I was thinking once in a while we should just tell the other team let’s all do figure eights. Every commercial timeout. It used to be it’d be a full scale line brawl if you did it. Now there’s guys skating all over, there’s guys doing calisthenics, there’s yoga. If you’re in the crowd you get lots more than a hockey game. Three time outs, there’s 18 guys rolling their yoga mats out there. Just watch. It used to be ‘Oh, only five guys on the ice,’ the officials would say. Now there’s 15. Some of the older refs, they just look and we just shake our heads at each other, because they know, too, what you’re thinking. It used to be you did that, you were in line for a suspension. [Reporter: Well, you remember when everyone would come out and do a little twirl.] No, it’s more now than it was, for sure. It used to be the clear rule, you’d go to your bench, you’ve got five guys and that’s it. And it’s still the rule, but it’s not an enforced rule.

On what stands out about the Florida Panthers:
They’re a veteran team. I think they’re the oldest team in the league. So, if you do it, the two oldest goalies. One’s a Hall of Famer, and on the back end, Willie replaced Jovo. Up front, look – they’re the oldest group of forwards in the league. Everybody talks about Barkov, the kids that are high picks – which they should. The last five years, one went first overall, second overall, two thirds and Gudbranson and…Bjugstad, both first rounders. So everybody talks about those five guys, but they’re the oldest team in the league. I’m not saying it because we’re playing them. They’re a very good hockey club. Look at their road record, look at their goals against, and they’ve got Luongo. They’re not flying under the radar. Everybody in the league knows about ‘em. They’re like teams that made the playoffs out here last year that I said before the start of year would make it. They’re a team, too. They’re a team that can do a lot of damage…I hope South Florida recognizes it and [helps fill] their building for ‘em. They’re a very good hockey club…When the Bergenheim boy comes back in, they insulate every one of those kids with two veterans, if you look at it. And proven veterans. They’re proven guys. They’ve got a lot of guys who have won championships and played in the Finals. They’re a good team.

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