March 2 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter

On what Kris Versteeg brings in terms of experience:
I think similar to the other trades we’ve made, those guys that either the team’s familiar with or you’re familiar with. It’s similar to Vinny and Scuds, guys with championships under their belts – multiple ones – it speaks for itself.

On communication and the approach to the first day of practice with a new player:
Well, we sat down with him yesterday, we traded for him three days ago, so we were with him yesterday to review systems. No different than any other player. I’ve said it before, I’m not crazy about getting these [players] unless you’re familiar with them. The deadline doesn’t mean that that’s the day trades have to be made. I think Dean’s done an awesome job of that the last few years, for example, with Lecavalier and Schenn coming in a month before or whatever it is. Scuderi’s a guy you’re familiar with. He comes in a week or so before. It’s not easy for a player to adjust. I’m not into ever seeing players get traded, being a former player, and I know how hard it is when they have families and all that, so there’s a lot more to it. So the philosophy of it, I’m not really into that. I’m more into the emotional part of it, and it’s kind of a silly question to ask, ‘do you talk to him?’ No, I never talked to him. Haven’t seen him yet.

On his prior history with Versteeg:
Yeah, he played junior with my brother Brent with Red Deer, so obviously I’m familiar with him from a hockey standpoint, but in terms of until you’ve coached players, you don’t really know ‘em. … He’s from down there, down around Lethbridge, so that was Coaldale, I believe. Kris, because he’s from Southern Alberta, he’d be more familiar with my brothers that live down there than I would be, that’s for sure.

On Vincent Lecavalier adapting to his role with the Kings:
He came right here and put his foot on the pedal. He’s a proud guy. You don’t be a Stanley Cup champion and a great player and one of the captains on a Stanley Cup champion unless you’re a great player. [Reporter: And you felt he had jump immediately, as soon as he got here?] You have to be on the right team, the right situation. When he came here, he basically plays behind Kopi and Jeff, so it’s a good fit if you still have the passion to do it. There’s a point in everybody’s career also where that passion diminishes, but his certainly hasn’t, and to me, I’ve said it on different occasions since I’ve been here, that’s why I think he’s a Hall of Fame player.

On any different energy after an off-day, and players getting “well-needed rest”:
I’d say all of that. We gave our players a day and a half – they had an option of either taking yesterday away from the rink or the day before, and they chose to come in the day after the Anaheim game, come in early, and they were out by noon, so it gave ‘em a whole day and a half. It’s important. This is our busiest month, games played coming up with two or three back-to-backs, so it was important. There’s a big difference between a day and a day and a half for an athlete, so to get ‘em that, they’ll be better for it at some point in this next stretch of games we go through.

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