December 1 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter

On whether he spent Sunday watching video:
Oh yeah. Every day’s video work for coaches.

On how Chicago sets the benchmark in the Western Conference:
Well, because you’re going to have to beat ‘em. Everybody’s going to have to beat them. It’s not that hard to figure out. They still have the same five defensemen, and you know what? They replaced [Handzus] with Brad Richards, so they’re basically the same team.

On whether Alec Martinez is getting closer to returning:
He’s doing everything better, meaning that he’s skated with the team and done all that stuff. But everybody can skate with the team. It’s being able to shoot or pass, and then the next part’ll be the contact part of it.

On whether Marian Gaborik skated by himself, prior to the group:
If you were here, then you would know if he skated. I don’t have to talk about guys.

On a much closer pack in the Western Conference, compared to last year:
We all start at the same, but if you look at it – I think we’ve talked about that – where last year San Jose and Anaheim pulled away from everyone early. It wasn’t necessarily what they were doing, it’s just the way it worked, and this year everybody stayed closer. The only thing you take from last year is that it was last year. It’s got nothing to do with this year. [Reporter: It’s still going to take a hundred points.] Yeah, I think it does.

On whether he was sending a “message” with a lengthier practice:
No, we needed to have some conditioning based on November. We had two back-to-backs and a lot of travel, and we didn’t have a chance. If you look at this month – how many games did we play last month? 13? We played 11 in October, I believe 13 in November, and 14 in December. You’ve got to get your practice days in. Today’s the first day of December. You’ve got to get it in, very clearly. We have two back-to-backs with a mandatory four days off, plus the Christmas break. Today had nothing to do with tomorrow. I’m not looking for anything other than we’ve got guys who’ve played a lot that, quite honest, when they were playing more than they’re normally used to, you know what they do is they lose conditioning. So you’ve got to push them back up, and then the guys who haven’t played enough, the way they get their minutes per game ratio up is through practice drills. Got to get it in. [Reporter: Is the Christmas break separate, or is that considered part of the-] You know what? I’m not sure. If you look at December’s schedule, we have the two back-to-backs, so you’re trying to get some recovery and rest in there. We had two back-to-backs in October and November also, and so we have two in December, and then with the way some of the travel – hey, we have a long trip, too. So you’ve got to manage practice in there. So if you look at this last month, I think we have four full days where everybody practiced. Four days. So today without Gaborik, and putting Martinez back in there, so we’re missing a guy today, too. We’ll just deal with it.

On how he evaluated Jordan Nolan’s return to the lineup:
Guys who aren’t playing have to stay ready. It doesn’t do any good to come in and play a few minutes and go back out again.

On the Boston Bruins:
Boston’s really similar to us. I like watching Boston play, and if you look at the season, I think we’ve played the same amount of games, same amount of points. Pretty much the same records, pretty much the same goals for, goals against. They’re doing it the way we’re doing it, trying to keep our head above water with a lot of injuries as we both went along. It just tells you that as a team and from a coaching standpoint and a leadership standpoint that you can find ways to stay competitive in this league and not use anything as an excuse.

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