January 26 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter

On the entire All-Star experience:
I thought Columbus – the city and the fans and the organization – did a great job. The game is almost the secondary part of it for the fans and the players. [Reporter: And the cannon. Are you still hearing that?] Yeah, they were late in some of their announcements. Like four-to-five minutes late. It was good, though. They did a really good job. It was almost like a playoff atmosphere for two days around there. The fans, you could see they were energized and enjoyed it. The players were really interactive with it, and having the two local guys, Foligno and Johansen, was I think really good, too.

On whether the time off will be good for the Kings:
Yeah, I think the break is same for every team. Everybody’s got the same break. Some teams have got a longer break, so I don’t know why it would be special to our group or special to anybody else, other than guys who played in the All-Star Game. [We’re] coming in today still working on to see who could practice today. Every day is a good day.

On the team’s decision to waive Mike Richards:
From a personal standpoint, from a coaching standpoint, Mike’s been a really good player for us, obviously, and he’s had a tough year this year. It’s natural for people on the outside to want to have all the answers, but you know what? Mike’s still got lots of game left, and he’s been frustrated with it this year, too. I think he’s still got lots of game left, that’s how I feel. I feel the very same way as when Colin Fraser was waived last year – how you feel about those guys because of what they went through. Not just to win championships, but what they went through here in terms of helping get the team back to where it should be in terms of compete and work and all that. That’s how I still see Mike. This is hockey, and some of you guys don’t get it, period. Lots of players go on waivers and lots of players clear waivers, and lots of players still have great years in front of them. It’s just that there are people in the media who continue to want to beat people up because they can’t do it themselves. It’s frustrating. I think Mike’s still got lots of hockey left.

On the club’s decision, from Richards’ perspective:
I don’t know, you’d have to talk to him. I mean, what I said is how I feel. I feel strongly about Mike Richards. I can’t say it any other way. I still think he has lots of hockey left in him. He re-finds his passion and his love for the game, that’s always been the strength of Mike. He’ll re-find that and go from there.

On Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty getting a day off after All-Star weekend:
Yeah, the trainers and Kopi and Drew. The only guys who didn’t get that were- [Reporter: You.]. But, you know, thankfully we got out, because there teams were getting out this morning, and I bet they had trouble. Anybody who was going east probably had lots of trouble. Even the pilots, when they dropped us off last night, said there were already – I forget what the number was – but there were 13 or 14 hundred flights that were either postponed or canceled already, and that was at midnight.

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