February 23 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter - LA Kings Insider

On a “business approach” to the weekend and the Stadium Series game:
I think it’s harder for the home team, first off, just the way the schedule’s set up for the home team, in terms of skating the night before when you’re in a different climate, and then time with the family. It’s different for the teams. It’s different for the players. I didn’t even know that stat until yesterday when I was watching our game – consider the visitors won 11 of the 15 games. And San Jose was a little bit in the same boat that we were in this past year where you’re coming home and not really getting the whole – you want to make sure your family’s taken care off and all that, so they enjoy it, but their first period the other night, they’re I’m sure going to say that they weren’t that good in the first 15 minutes. It was a close game anyways, but in the end that was probably the difference. And I know I’m biased, and that’s a beautiful new building up there in Santa Clara, but I think the whole part of it, ours was better. For sure it was. There was more activity in the field at Dodger Stadium. I don’t know if that was because of the proximity to the Ducks…The only thing I didn’t know they were doing was introducing [so many] of the former players. I didn’t know that until watching it on TV. And most of them are former players, but they’re not old guys. [Reporter: Igor Larionov looks like he could still go out there and play.] Yeah, I talked to him the night before. [Reporter: How’s he doing?] Good. Really good. We were talking about the Russia series that was part of the whole Russia thing.

On how much the improvement in save percentage should be credited to Jonathan Quick, how much should be attributed to team play, and whether Quick is playing his best hockey of the season:
I thought his October was outstanding, and I think obviously he deserves to be First Star of the week. The team wins games, and the one guy who plays all those games should win. Goaltenders get overlooked a hundred percent of the time unless they’re just what you’re saying – unless they’re not playing up to standards. So Jonathan Quick – I’ve said it, and I’m not even going to go any farther than that – if I have to pick a goaltender in a big game, I want Jonathan Quick, and we’re playing big games, so I want Jonathan Quick.

On the schedule affecting Quick’s workload:
The schedule is a little bit, the way it’s been. You know what? We’ve had to adjust and adapt. That’s what we’ve had to do in terms of how we use our goaltenders. We’re trying to make the playoffs.

On what he has liked by the two-way play of centers Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter:
Well, it’s not just two centermen- [reporter: Right. Well, all your centermen.] –and most of it starts in your own zone as a team. If you can’t play well in your own zone with and without the puck, then you’re not a playoff team. And we’ve had to change our centermen dramatically. It’s an overlooked part. I know everybody’s talked about the defense and that, but we’ve had to change our centermen dramatically since the first Cup, if you look at it. [Reporter: When you say ‘change dramatically,’ what type of adjustments-] Personnel. Our four centermen when we won the first Stanley Cup were Kopitar, Richards, Stoll and Fraser. So I’d say there’s been a dramatic change.

On a defenseman attributing improved team defense to having a center lower in the defensive zone:
That’s not a change, that’s just responsibility. That’s not a change. That’s something that if you want to be a good hockey club, that’s the responsibility, and we’ve said that for almost four years now, about our centermen have to be dominant players in the middle of the ice. They’re trying to be dominant players, but that just doesn’t put the onus on them. That puts the onus on defensemen getting the puck to them and wingers being in the right position. It’s not something that’s new to our team or anything like that. It’s been an adjustment to our team…[Reporter: Well, he pointed to a better connection, a stronger connection between your forwards and the D in the defensive zone.] We give up the third or fourth-fewest shots in the league for four years, so I wouldn’t say that’s everybody. That’s a goalie and defensemen, forwards. It’s not based on one thing or an individual. If you’re not prepared to play that way, then you are like the old Kings.

On three back-to-back sets remaining:
Three. Three more. 14 road, 10 home, three back-to-backs. 12 division. [Reporter: Is that one of the first things you look at when the schedule comes out, where the back-to-backs are?] No. Our back-to-back was not an issue this year. The toughest back-to-back we had, when you look at it, because we were shorthanded in the first trip of the year when we started in Philly and played shorthanded and we had to go Pittsburgh-Detroit. That’s the toughest back-to-back we’ve had.