February 23 morning skate quotes: Darryl Sutter

On the trade deadline:
It’s changed a lot since the last lockout. Now it’s based on lottery and salaries. … As I said, I think there are three critical times of the year. One’s Christmas – teams know where they’re at pretty much, because you’re close to having your games in. The next one’s All-Star break, the next one is this. It’s changed a lot, as I said, since the last lockout and with the salary cap and lottery. The lottery is more and more a prominent thing now. Trade deadline combos because of that.

On whether he pays much attention to other teams near the trade deadline:
We’re trying to make the playoffs. I couldn’t care less about what anybody else does. You want to talk about any of that stuff, talk to Dean. [Reporter: No, I meant just as like a hockey fan.] No. I’m not a Kings fan. I’m trying to make sure that the Kings are in the right place to make the playoffs.

On whether winning the last game of the trip provided optimism and a “reset”:
We played really well the whole trip, except for one period in New York. [Reporter: If Kopitar gets back in tonight, how much will that help you guys get more organized and be back to where you want?] We are well organized and we’re pretty much where we want to be. We’re playing a team that’s really good down the middle of the ice – three really good young centermen – so if there’s any difference between Nashville and Calgary, it’s, I’d say, down the middle of the ice. Nashville, after Johansen, is an older, veteran, probably more of checking-type centermen, where Calgary down the middle of the ice would be three pretty good young guys and a checking fourth line. So that would be the difference for Kopi, to take the challenge out of Monahan, Bennett, Backlund. That would be more of it, I’d say, if it was just position-related.

On what he remembers most about Mike Donnelly:
Hard-working, checking guy. Real solid teammate. We’re not big into those delays before the game, but quite honest, the ones that’ve been the best, for sure, since I’ve been here have been those role guys that never get any credit – guys like Laperriere, Jay Wells, Mike tonight. Usually when the other guys get recognized, well, it’s like a ‘here we go again’ thing. But it’s good to see that those type of players, and especially even more so with guys like Mike, when they get a little bit older, their kids probably either didn’t see them play or if they did, they don’t remember him, they might remember a star on the team. Right? So when they see their dads recognized, that to me is the best part. [Reporter: That’s exactly what Mike was saying.] It’s for sure the best part, because even if they could remember going to the Forum or seeing their dad, I be they’re more of leaning towards more of who the big shots were on the team.

On Kevin Gravel:
When we called him up, we wanted to look at Forbort, and we wanted to look at Gravel. We did, and we will continue with them. [Reporter: Well, what do you think so far?] You know what, he’s got really good instincts and he’s really athletic. I think that the difference will be – he went from school, I think he went the whole time at school, his whole four years, and then hey came out, so he came out as an older first-year guy. And then he plays one year in the American League, and when you give him a taste at the NHL, you’ll see the difference, and the strength of the player you’re playing against, and the maturity of the player and the skill set. As I said, I think he’s got good hockey sense and he’s an athletic guy. So work with him, and see where it goes.

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