March 20 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter

Before leaving for the airport, the Kings held workouts and team meetings at Toyota Sports Center as Jhonas Enroth took the ice with Jamie McBain and Andy Andreoff under the direction of John Stevens, Davis Payne and Bill Ranford. As practice wound down, Darryl Sutter met with reporters to discuss the team’s focus after having qualified for a playoff berth as well as several additional topics in advance of the three-game road trip.

On the team’s next goal after having qualified for a playoff berth:
I think to clear that up, to be a playoff team as soon as possible, so to be able to do it with this many games left is – you’ve got to give our team a lot of credit for that, which means you can just focus on your own game. It doesn’t have anything to do with anybody else now.

On the team’s strong play during a compacted stretch against tough teams:
Well, it’s still a tough schedule. Don’t look back. We’ve got a tough grind ahead of us. Nashville, Minny back-to-back, on to Winnipeg, home to Edmonton, back to San Jose before it lightens up, so it’s not really what’s behind, it’s what’s in front.

On Vincent Lecavalier’s contributions:
He’s played a not different role, he’s played a third line role. He came here and we played here on a fourth line role until he got his game fitness, game pace back up just because he hadn’t played, and he’s played a third line role. His minutes are 11-to-14 minutes. That’s what a third line centerman has to play for you. [Reporter: But you don’t normally have a third line guy playing on the power play.] Sure you do. Good teams do. Third line guys are supposed to be able to take faceoffs, they’re supposed to be [out] in situations, it’s what they do, especially centermen.

On Kris Versteeg:
He’s day-to-day. We’ll get him back on this trip sometime.

On Anze Kopitar’s play over the last month:
Hey, him and Jonathan set the template for our team in terms of leadership and what’s going on. It’s those two guys who carry the weight, and he’s on pace for his normal regular season. His numbers, he’s going to be, what, around 25 and 50 in terms of goals and assists, and that’s what his career has been. That’s spectacular for most players. For him, that’s normal. … You know what? Our team, the top players are also the captains, so it goes hand-in-hand. It’s a lot of responsibility for Kopi, but that’s good responsibility and it’s good pressure. I trust him on and off the ice, so you expect him to be a top guy in both those areas. He’s a top player on the ice and he’s our captain.

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