December 12 morning skate quotes: Darryl Sutter

On who will start in net against Montreal:
One of our two goalies. We don’t announce starters.

On what he expects from the Canadiens:
They’ll be fresh. They’ve been off for two or three days, and we’ll go out and play our game. They’re a fast team. They’ve got obviously a world class goalie and defense that can move the puck, so we’ve got our hands full.

On whether it has been tougher for the Kings to play their “game” on the road:
No, we’ve played really well.

On Montreal developing into one of the league’s better teams:
Have they played 30 games? They’re pushing 30 games – everybody is – and you see how close the league is. Obviously there are probably two teams in each conference that probably don’t have…records that are playoff numbers, but everybody else, there’s no difference. Between one and 11 in the Eastern Conference and one and 11 in the Western Conference, there’s no difference.

On what he has looked for from Mike Richards this year, and whether he has delivered that:
Yes he has, and what we look for is we feel that’s our best position down the middle with the four guys that we have that have been parts of two Stanley Cups and one Western Conference Final. They were the most important parts of it, those four guys, and we were able tp put Trevor into that, so when you have Kopi, Jarret, Jeff and Mike, we like that.

On Jake Muzzin:
He had a rough start. He missed training camp with a broken hand and is just starting to get his game back. We’ve got a really young defense. We’re the opposite of your team.

On managing the team’s workload given the deep playoff runs:
It has an effect on your team, clearly. We’ve played ‘til the middle of June three years in a row. It’s clearly affected our training camps, it’s clearly affected some of our veteran players. I think not everybody was parts of those three teams, and not everybody played significant time, but the guys who did, you can see it. They’re humans, and there are times where it’s taken its toll, and that’s the biggest challenge that you have as a team of when you play as long as we have over the last three years is the game-in and game-out part of it, and I respect that and understand that, and it’s not easy.

On whether he has been happy with Tyler Toffoli’s contributions:
We need our young players to be effective. When you talk about what guys who haven’t been a part of the last three years, we need these young guys come in, and actually you have to see them every night do something almost special. OPur young players, up front, you know what? They came out of the gate for us and really got us some wins early in the years, and they’ve had a tougher time the last month. They’re not unlike any other young players in the league. They’re going to have their ups and downs, and that’s what they’ve had.

On whether Anze Kopitar’s production has been a “source of concern”:
Surely it is. Kopi’s a point-a-game guy, and he’s still our most complete forward in terms of the whole package, but at the same time, you want him feeling good about his game and his numbers, too, and how he’s playing. You know what? I was the happiest guy in Ottawa last night to see Kopi score.

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