December 11 morning skate quotes: Darryl Sutter

On what led to the generation of rush chances in the last game against Pittsburgh:
It was coming out of our zone more than [entering the zone]. We talked about it this morning, even. It was getting out of our zone as quick as we can. That’s always a challenge for our team – when we’re on, we’re moving it out of our zone. The puck is still faster than anybody out there on the ice, and if you can get yourself in good position, get the puck in good position, the way the game is, there’s not a whole lot of the game played in the neutral zone anymore. It’s more zone-zone, D-zone, O-zone. That’s an adjustment that’s happened in the game again in the last four or five years. There was a big adjustment when we took the red line out. Teams and coaches had to figure out how to get more speed in neutral, now everybody checks so well in neutral and moves the puck so well in neutral that you’re zone-zone, so you go back to that last game, we moved the puck out of the zone well, and we got opportunities, and when we didn’t, they did. It’s not really a deal you want to get into with this team, is where you’re trading Grade-A chances.

On whether he agrees that Drew Doughty has “reached another level”:
I don’t think his play is – he’s still at that top-handful of guys. I’ve said this before. He’s just taking on way more of a leadership role, and just more of a command in terms of being a voice and a presence in the locker room. We needed that. I’ve said that before. That’s part of the turnover in our team with those older guys that left the room. One of the most important guys in it was Drew taking the next step in that.

On the balance of incorporating both speed and size:
Need speed. If you don’t have big speed, then small speed, for sure. I mean, that makes sense, too.

On whether there’s any advantage having been in Pittsburgh, waiting for the Penguins:
We do that quite often, the travel. We sort of laugh about it when you come [into buildings] and you hear about teams, ‘oh, it was a tough trip,’ and they were three days. Like, ‘oh, gee, that was a hard trip.’ I’ve only coached in the Western Conference, so you just get used to it. We don’t look at it like it’s an advantage at all. You look at it like ‘game day is game day.’ Yesterday or tomorrow really doesn’t matter.

On any advantage with Kris Letang out:
I couldn’t tell you. I mean, he didn’t play against us last week, either. [Reporter: It means you don’t have to see him this season.] Well, maybe not, maybe we do. Maybe we have to see him seven times, though. That would be a good thing for both of us. Hey, he’s a good player. At the end of the day, you want to play against everybody’s good players, too, because that’s a benchmark. When you don’t play teams, especially on this side, you only play ‘em twice. You want your players to play against everybody’s best players, too.

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