December 5 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter

On Brayden McNabb’s improvement:
With all that’s gone on with our back end, it’s allowed Brayden to play, and that’s been really good for him, and it’s really good for us, not just now, but I think in the big picture of it. It’s almost basically the same talking about Marty’s signing – that big picture part of it – it’s the same as Brayden. Brayden’s our youngest defenseman, and he was looked on coming in as a guy who we wanted to sort of integrate into our team, and that’s what we’ve been able to do.

On where McNabb’s improvement has occurred:
He’s 22 years old. What you do is you try and learn the league. It’s not just automatically playing in the league, and then the expectations and demands that his teammates would put on him. You know what? He’s the youngest defenseman on our team, and there’s lots of growth there, and he works at it and he’s coachable and he understands the game, so he’s only going to get better.

On what he’s looking for McNabb to continue to learn about the league:
I think the biggest part that they learn is the preparation in terms of game days. Doing your due diligence in terms of knowing who your opponent is and who you’re going to be up against, and if you’re playing different minutes, or with Brayden even now is learning – you know, we’ve been primarily a penalty killing defense of veteran defensemen, and trying to push guys into it and learning about it – being Drew, Marty, Muzz, Slava – and now we’ve done that with [Brayden]. So it’s the role part of it and understanding what kind of player you are and how we want him to play.

On whether having two quality goaltenders is emphasized more in today’s game:
It depends on conference. I think if you did the numbers right now – I ‘d have to check – it’s still a heavy number one guy, if you look at it, on the best teams, as long as there’s not injury. I think we have it, what is it, nine back-to-backs, and that’s the fewest in the league this year, so there are probably teams that are into the 15-16. You’d have to check, but that affects in also. The best teams, at the end of the day, are still primarily a number one guy and then somebody else you can really count on, and I think Marty showed us last year that we can play him a lot if we have to, but at the same time Jonathan never struggles with quantity ever. So you’re…trying to keep him fresh, too, without giving him too much time off. It’s about wins. Clear. I’m not playing somebody who can’t win games. If you can’t win games, then one guy’s going to play ‘em all. That is the rule of thumb with the best organizations.

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