Sutter on 67-68 Kings, practice structure

On the 1967-68 Kings reunion:
It was neat to see. I moved down the bench so I could watch ‘em during the anthem. It was special because you could see how proud they were. It was really neat to see those guys. And you wonder – knowing a lot of those older guys over the years through the game, obviously, but it had to be very special for them, too, to be able to do that, to go out on the ice. I’m sure they were thinking a lot about things that they’d done. [Reporter: Did you get a chance to talk to any of them over the past 48 hours?] Just quick. I tried to shake hands and hug guys when they were coming off. [Reporter: Any reaction from your players that you might be able to share?] One of the players asked me how many of ‘em I played with. [Reporter: What was your response?] I just laughed. It’s still fun to see that. Hey, it’s different with Wayne and Dave and guys you played against who are sort of the same age group. At the end of the day, what is in the big picture for guys like us? You see those guys, there were 120 players in the league, and they doubled it, those six teams. They doubled it, and now it’s almost triple that. I was thankful to play in the National Hockey League because the league went from six to 12 to whatever it was when I came in, 18 or whatever it was. So I probably wouldn’t have played if it wasn’t for guys who went 10-60. And they never made the NHL, quite honest, because they’d been playing in the system, so a lot of those guys didn’t play until they were 30. So now, that’s like, guys are hanging on. Those guys didn’t play in the league until they were 30. The young players do really respect it and understand it. You see a boy like Tyler, who was coached by Brian Kilrea. The wanted to be able to see Killer last night – you’ve got to keep him on the bench, right? There are so many different connections in there. It’s funny, right before the game, Wayne had come in early, whatever time it was. We could’ve used him on the power play. He was on the ice, he’s available. As long as the program was before, it’s still so interesting to see him happy and healthy. I wish Red could’ve come, and Eddie Joyal. [Reporter: Does Red get out to games in Toronto?] I’m going to bet he does not. The last time I think I saw him was the Hall of Fame dinner when I was in Calgary, I think for Harley. So that’s quite a few years.

On the balance of structuring practices well in advance while taking into account recent play:
Probably a lot of both. You’re trying to plan – for example, we’re just finishing a week now where we played two games. We’re going to go into three and four for the next seven weeks, I believe, three and four games, so you try and set your practices up in advance. You’re going to try get one every six practices, you’re trying to get some special teams. After a day off, which is obviously required now, you’re trying to get the flow. You get to know your players in terms of how they area after a day off. Some guys, even though they need the rest, they’re not as sharp the next day. Some days just go right through it. If you look at a guy like Drew today, today is a lot of skating and basically aerobic and getting almost game reps in as much as you can. Guys like that that are great skaters, you’re not really tiring them out. They say, ‘is that it?’ And a lot of your practices, there’s a team format. A lot of it is also set up for guys that need work after or prior, and obviously we’re challenged with the scoring part of it. The mindset always is ‘well, we’ve got to change or open it up to score more goals.’ Well, then you’re really going to get the [—-] beat out of you, then. You’re going to give up four goals. We really have to work on the detail of our game, and it’s hard when you have such limited practice and you’re trying to fit individual development into it, but also the concept of the team and how your team has to play. There’s not so much to do with the ‘night before.’ It used to be the old bury the players the day after the game and things like that. The schedule just makes it too hard. You guys see the practice part of it. The other part is you have to be able to manage that with the players, whether it’s in a group or individual or off-ice or workout or whatever it is.

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