January 6 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter

On the honor of coaching the Pacific Division All-Star team:
Obviously it’s a different format. To be able to go last year because we won it, and to go this year because you’re leading the division, the older you get, the more it means, and I think that the reason that we’re leading the division now is because of our three-on-three play, so it’s interesting that’s the format.

On his favorite aspects of the All-Star Game:
It’s hectic. It’s hectic and busy, and that’s not a favorite part. I think that obviously the city this year that’s hosting it makes a big difference in terms of for the players. To be able to see it on a different level, who the opponent is, is always interesting and fun. Have they named them all yet? [Reporter: Today.] The only thing for me is, quite honest, that Kopi should be on it. If you look at three-on-three, what he has done in the league and what he is for our team, and I thought Tyler was a legitimate guy, too. A 19-goal scorer halfway through the year. I know how it works. There’s only one guy from each team for the most part, so Drew and Quickie, I don’t think that’s a surprise for anybody: [Reporter: Will Chris be behind the bench with you for part of the weekend?] I haven’t even thought of it. I haven’t talked to anybody, and I don’t know any of the format.

On the team’s focus after a day off:
Tomorrow’s game only. We play Toronto, and obviously they’re fresh in our minds. We’ve played parts of a good game against ‘em, and parts where we didn’t play well.

On the recent infrequency of home games:
Everybody’s going to go through stretches like that where you think you’re home too long, or you’re on the road too long and where you don’t get the proper recovery when you do come home. We held up pretty good, but that was the case the last part of the schedule and we held up good. Our focus when we started the long part of the trip, at the beginning we were in first place, and that’s how we wanted to come home, so we did that. Now we can set our sights on just a game at a time again, and if you look at it from now until the All-Star Break, the schedule’s where we’ll just try it again where you have your two days and there’s a three and a four in there. Obviously that takes care of some of the player appearances stuff and charity stuff and all that gets tied into this, so it’s never easy, but you just kind of change your mindset and your focus and get ready for the Leafs.

On Kyle Clifford’s status:
We’re just basically working off the doctors and trainers and Cliffy. [Reporter: Is he able to do anything – biking?] He’s been doing light work. It’s the same thing you guys have been told. Until he’s cleared for further activity, then there’s no further activity. It’s all protocol.

On weathering the recent stretch of play without Jeff Carter:
Well, I think it showed last game. Down the middle of the ice is a big difference. If you look at the last part where – how many games did he miss now, five? [Reporter: Five, yeah.] When you look at the centermen – the way we all set up with the teams we were playing, the way the centermen were set up because of injuries and so forth – and I think once we went to Colorado, I’d seen a much deeper centermen group, and it showed. His speed and his whole possession game, one player does have an impact on that … it’s like when we got Trevor back. It’s a big difference in our speed and our possession and our shots, all that, and that’s where Jeff is tied in, too. His evident skill is evident and missing when it’s not there.

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