April 14 morning skate quotes: Darryl Sutter

On whether he watched Kobe Bryant’s game and expects any excitement to carry over:
We’d seen it driving in. Drove in while everybody was in the building. Obviously it’s special. He’s a player who’s won a lot of championships here and one of the greatest players in the game, so it’s nice I’m sure for him to be able to play his last game at home. I’m sure he would’ve rather played in a playoff environment.

On whether he’d be willing to talk about Alec Martinez:

On the Kings-Sharks rivalry:
I think the California [rivalries] – I always go back to the historical part of it and what Wayne brought to California. That’s when these teams all got invested in, hockey in the cities got in invested in the game … since then. The teams have had times where the Ducks and Kings have both won championships, and San Jose has been close, but I think it all started clearly with Wayne Gretzky, and when you talk about being good rivalries, only good teams have good rivalries. There’s no rivalry when you’re not. There’s not. Fans don’t have it, cities don’t have it, it’s not there that can be promoted or trying to be reproduced or that sort of thing. But unless they’re good teams, there are no rivalries.

On the emotions at the start of a playoff series:
We’ve had some time off, as the other team has, and we’ll be ready to go. The best thing about the playoffs is after the first game you don’t have to answer all the historical BS. You talk about the game. You don’t have to talk about the season or ‘what’s wrong with this guy,’ all that. Tomorrow, for sure, even with the players, you can just talk about tonight’s game. That’s where I’m at. It’s not like I’m new to it.

On his approach towards a statistical reset come playoff time:
Because it does start at zero. Nothing comes out of the regular season that carries over in the playoffs. If there was, there’d be an advantage. There is no advantage. If there’s no penalties tonight, then you know what? There’s somebody’s power play last night that was probably 30 percent, if there’s no penalties tonight, you know what? We’re still both at zero.

On Joe Thornton’s season:
He’s had a great season. You know how I feel about older players who pour it on and show a lot. In our conference, obviously, we see a lot of great forwards. The two best that I’ve seen this year, other than our own, would be Benn and Thornton.

On the value of bringing in players who’ve won Stanley Cups:
I think the two [forwards] that we brought in … would be Lecavalier and Versteeg that’ve won Cups. … Both were veteran guys. The team wasn’t in a position to give up a lot for players, and both have been really good players for us. With Versteeg, when Gabby got hurt we were without a guy for a while, and with Richards and Stoll not being here, the veteran centerman was a hole in our lineup.

On whether this is a more “resilient” San Jose team than in the past:
I don’t know, what does that mean, ‘more resilient?’ [Reporter: The ability to fight through adversity, come back.] If you make the playoffs, there’s a lot of adversity. Being a good team, being close to a hundred-point, being a hundred-point team, there’s a lot of adversity. It’s not easy. The league’s a lot closer. That’s what the salary cap and the rosters do. 70-million dollars, 23-man, it makes it a lot closer. The resilient part is you start at 30, and at the end of this round, you’re down to eight. That’s the resilience. Think about it, how tough the first round is in the National Hockey League, and I know that. I’ve been doing it a long time. The first round is the toughest round, especially in today’s game, so that’s the resilient part. You probably asked that question in October. ‘Are they a resilient team.’ On the 10th of April you’re asking the same question. In 10 days, you’ll do the same thing. Think about it. 30, 16, eight. You knock out 22 teams.

On any hesitance to send Drew Doughty over the boards because of heavy usage:
Situations. If you look at the 21-to-28, just over 28-minute players this year, Karlsson being just over 28, and all defensemen playing 21-plus, most of them now, for the most part, those guys are part of power play and penalty kill, which adds that minute or two into their game. But 21-to-28 is not a drastic measure if they’re a power play-minute guy, or a two-goal lead guy, or that sort of thing. He’s a great player. Great players want to play and excel in those areas, and he does.

On whether he’s surprised that Patrick Marleau is still playing at a high level:
He’s still a great skater, and he hasn’t had any major injury which [could have] held him back, if you look at it. The age is one thing, but to be able to play the number of games he’s played probably sticks out more to me. I just think about guys in this series. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are the same age. Lecavalier is the draft after. Both of those three guys, and I’m not sure with Martin and Scuds and guys like that, but if you look at those three guys, they were pretty prominent players in the league for a long, long time, and they’ve all played a lot of games.

On Brent Burns, and whether it is “difficult” for players to move from forward to defense:
It hasn’t looked very difficult for him. There are only a handful of guys in the history of the game that’ve done it successfully. Not many guys can do it. But it hasn’t looked hard for him. It looks like he enjoys it. [Reporter: What do you think the hardest part about that is?] Moving from forward to defense.

On gauging officiating by watching other series, or whether all series are their own “entity”:
Yeah, I think every series is its own entity. I like watching those series more just to see how guys are being used, situations, who they’re against, how they do actually excel or not in situations because obviously you’re playing to hope to be able to play again because you’re trying to get as much as you can. I think that my preference would be to watch it live, but that’s as close as you can get.

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