November 21 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter

On Matt Greene’s heavy usage against Carolina:
I think the first period with the three power plays – he probably ate up a lot of it there – that Carolina had. And then I think as the game went on, close low-scoring games, he’s over the boards quite a bit. [Reporter: How do you evaluate how he’s been playing?] I think he’s played really well for us. The number one thing, the difference from last year with Greener – he’s healthy. He missed a lot of games last year with injury, including the playoffs, and there were times during the regular season that he played hurt. Where I see it is not in a game, but I see it in practice. He’s more mobile because he’s healthier.

On the team’s strong standing near the quarter pole despite missing players:
I think Jonathan has been our best player by a lot. Our shots against aren’t where we want [them] to be, but I think it’s tied in to the ‘whole picture’ part of it in terms of the young guys on the back end. It’s not where we want to be, but our goal is to have the best goals against in the league, and that’s not a reflection on your goalies, it’s a reflection on your team. That’s how we’re going to be successful. We’ve been able to cut our goals against every year since I’ve been here – and significantly – so you have to be able to maintain that or get better at it, so that’s our goal. [Reporter: Also, too, is it a factor that this team has been through so much adversity in different ways that when you’re going through what you’re going through with the defense changing almost daily, I mean, guys just have the mindset of ‘we’ll get through this somehow’?] Well, that’s what we talk about. It’s not using it as an excuse. You know what? It has, no question, it’s cost us points. It has, but not to where you use it as an excuse. It’s based on basically who you’re up against a lot of nights. I think what’s a little bit of not an issue – but what you have to understand or what we have to understand – is we go forward and go through the season after you’ve won a championship, a full season, is that everybody’s playing you like that, and there’s not even a [unintelligible] period to be quite honest, and it becomes even more difficult on the road. It’s like when I keep saying ‘We’re not the same team.’ Well, we’re not the same team. That’s clear. We’re playing guys who normally wouldn’t have played, or guys who didn’t play very much are playing more, or guys who weren’t here. It’s quite different, and that’s why when you talk about the quarters, or breaking it into quarters, that’s how you have to evaluate it. I have to do a report card on each player after 20 games in my own mind so I can try and help some of those guys so that they see it clearly, too. You know what? Our goal this quarter is to try and do what we did in the first quarter, and I think we were pretty good. I think we played as well as could.

On whether injuries on defense two years ago helped prepare this current team to get through adversity on the blue line:
Mitchell didn’t play a game. I mean, I know there was a big deal made of it these last few days, but he didn’t play a game for us, and he missed significant time for us last year, too. Not two years ago. [Reporter: I know, but does it prepare the team at all, just because it has gone through adversity on the back end like that before? That they just went through that?] No, because they’re different players. I mean, Brayden McNabb wouldn’t know anything about that. He’s coming from an organization where they didn’t have the same standards because they weren’t as good a team. They weren’t a playoff team. It’s quite a bit different. Robyn came in…late in the year. It’s quite a bit different. Muzzin wasn’t a regular player until last year. As I said, it’s totally different. You’re trying to get into the deep part of it, well, it’s not that deep.

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