April 15 practice notes and Darryl Sutter quotes

Neither the Los Angeles Kings nor San Jose Sharks iced a full contingent of players for Friday practices as San Jose opted for media availability at their team hotel and slightly more than half of Los Angeles’ available players took the ice for an optional practice.

Kevin Gravel was among the players who skated with the Kings, and it’s expected that the team will announce his recall later today. Alec Martinez did not skate after missing the entire third period of Game 1 with an undisclosed ailment.

Darryl Sutter – along with Drew Doughty and Andy Andreoff – met with the media after Friday’s skate.

Darryl Sutter, on faceoff coverage beyond the center’s responsibilities:
Generally there are nine faceoff dots, and there are a lot of different situations in terms of win-loss, your side of center, their side of center, end zone, o-zone, d-zone, there are lots of different coverages and responsibilities. A lot of it has to do with who’s on the ice for the other team. Pavelski, Thornton and Hertl all take faceoffs, so they have a lot of different plays that they use, and if you look at the goal they scored last night, Pavelski wins the draw and Kopi loses Pavelski. Generally a rule of thumb, for the most part, unless your D are switching or you’ve got different alignments with your wingers, and the rule of thumb normally on those nine dots would be center-center. That’s your coverage … and it everybody else’s responsibility changes. We go through a lot before every game, and it’s become a way more prevalent part of pre-scouting and coaching now, is are those nine dots – because there are lots of different plays going, win, lose or tie, from those nine dots.

Sutter, on balancing Drew Doughty’s ice time while trying to keep him fresh for a playoff run:
You know what? He just told me, actually, how good he felt last night. Usually when he says that, he’s thinking about how more is better, which is awesome to have a player like that who wants that and can handle that. I think playoffs, just because of all the overtimes, it looks like guys’ minutes go up because top guys play more. When you get to overtimes and you’ll see 35-minute things and things like that, that’s because of overtimes. But last night it was the difference in our game when we went down to five defensemen, clearly. The second period, it was clearly the difference in our game. That’s because it’s hard. You’d rather spread it out as much as you can, but when you’re top-heavy with a guy like Drew and Muzz and those guys, they’re going to have to play more. That’s going to be our best chance of winning. [Reporter: Is that a frustrating thing, though, in this day and age, Darryl? If you lose a defenseman to injury, that’s beyond your control. As a coaching staff you want to set a game plan and play this way, and you look at 2004, you guys just ran out of healthy bodies on defense. There’s nothing you can do about that, right?] Yep. It happened to us – we didn’t have Greene, and I’m just trying to think back. We didn’t have Greene, we lost Mitchell early in the San Jose series, and we were able to put Schultzy in and then Robyn got hurt in the Anaheim series. There are so many different ways around, but you need the depth to be able to handle it. I mean, it becomes so much more prevalent during the playoffs because top players do play more, and coaches are going to get guys out against who they think they can, and obviously it does make a difference. It is frustrating? Sure it is. But at the same time, if you’re just going to use that as an excuse, it’s going to take a little impact. It’s like asking about Drew. Hey, we still need Drew to be a 30-minute guy and be totally effective for those 30 minutes, and then you’ve got to spread it from there and saw it off.

Sutter, on his defensive depth:
We’ve used a lot of guys. If you look over the course of the year, we’ve used, what is it now, 12? Whatever it is. I don’t know, count. I’m not really sure. We’ve used a lot of the kids – Derek and Kevin and Jamie and Christian, Scuds basically flipped for each other. So if you go through it, Greener played two or three games this year. So we’ve used a lot of guys. It’s the toughest position, but hey, you still need them to give you, whether it’s 10 minutes or 15 minutes, they’ve got to be quality. That’s when you say, ‘what did I think about it,’ that’s what I base it on, is how they play.

Sutter, on managing rest and sleep over the course of a season:
I think you try and prepare your team for it as the season goes along. If you’ve clinched early or if you’re in a dogfight, if a guy’s a little bit banged up – I think if you’ve seen us the last month, we used guys a lot differently. As much as we clinched, we tried to move minutes around, move responsibilities around, that sort of thing. And then your rest part, there’s a point where you’re going to your leadership group and asking them, ‘should we be on the ice today? Should we be off the ice today? Should we be away from the rink today? What should we do tonight?’ It becomes their team in that sense, and that’s how you try and manage it. [Reporter: I imagine it’s a lot different maybe from your playing days. I was talking to Randy Carlyle about that, and he said practice habits and sleep and rest, it changes considerably from his time in the league.] You play a lot more games now. There’s a lot more travel, a lot more games, which is the big difference, and obviously there’s a lot more that goes into that in terms of the training and training camps and preparing to play 100 games is what you try to do, those sorts of things, and then figure in your injuries. I think the proximity of having your farm team closer has helped us.

Sutter, on what he had seen from Trevor Lewis that made him confident he’d fit in his role:
I think he’s a really disciplined player. He’s a fast player. I think you can play him in situations. He can play two or three forward positions if you need him. ‘Situations’ meaning that you can have him on the ice at the end of periods, protecting a lead, those sorts of things. He’s one of those guys that’s just a great teammate. That’s what he is. He doesn’t need the limelight. He’s really a responsible guy. He’s been an easy guy to coach. He’s one of those guys that when I came here five years ago that I was surprised that once I’d coached him for a few games that he wasn’t more highly thought of. When you go back to that year, I think that was King-Stoll-Lewis, those were the go-to guys in situations that you needed them in. They never got much credit, and still, a lot of it is King-Lewis. It’s been an issue for us putting a guy there. [Reporter: What did you think of his goal last night?] It was a great play by both of those guys. Kinger backs the defenseman off so it becomes Lewie and Jones. It’s a good shot and a good goal.

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