February 1 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter

FROM MONDAY: Darryl Sutter met with reporters before the team flew to Phoenix and discussed the team’s performance to date and Kyle Clifford nearing a return to the lineup:

On the All-Star weekend experience:
Yeah, it was a good event. I think the format worked well. I think the fans and players enjoyed that. [Reporter: It looked like Chris had a great time.] Yeah, he got his fill.

On the team’s season to date:
I think your schedule always breaks into three major portions: Where you are at Christmas, where you are at All-Star Break, where you are at trade deadline, because that influences where you’re at at the end of the year, so that’s where we are. [Reporter: So what have you liked up to the All-Star Break?] We’re really consistent, I think. We’ve had to move lots of guys around because of injuries – Carter had to do a lot of forward switching there around Christmas, and then with the trade with Vinny and Luke, move it around again, so I think our guys have adjusted well to that, so we’ll just see where we go now. [Reporter: Is there anything you haven’t liked up to now?] I think I’ve said it all along. I think we’d still like to declare who actually our partners are on the back end. It’s always easier for those guys, and it’s still ongoing. I think that you’re always going to have highs and lows in parts of the game, but we still have a foundation. Stick to the foundation.

On the challenges against Arizona through the first three games:
We’ve played good games there. It hasn’t been that hard. We won there after Christmas, and the last time we played there we lost three-two. There’s not much difference in the teams.

On keeping the “momentum going” as the schedule begins again:
We just want to continue on. There’s no deep dark new theme or change of the way we play or anything like that. We play two this week. It’s not a tough turnaround. It’s an hour flight today, and we come home and play Anaheim and then we go on the long trip, so we’ll try and get some work done this week before you go on that long trip.

On Kyle Clifford’s impending return, and not having had a fully healthy team:
You know what, if you’re just talking about Kyle, it’s best for him to go play. He hasn’t played much this year. He’s played 26 games, but if you add it up in terms of minutes played, he’s played four games this year if you added it all up. He’s in a competition with five or six other guys to see what our lineup is, and that’s the way I like it because if you can be in a position where there’s 14 forwards, that’s a good thing. So it keeps everybody competitive and it should keep everybody sharp.

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