January 6 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter

On Nic Dowd as a third line center:
It’s not necessarily him. I think that Nick Shore and Nic Dowd are pretty well balanced right now just based on minutes played. That’s how we’ve used ‘em. They’ve both missed games as coach’s decisions, so I think there’s still very much finding out where they fit in. I’ve said it lots. When you have Kopi and Jeff as your top two guys, then you need guys to take more responsibility and take good minutes and accomplish something while they’re getting those minutes. We don’t have a three or a four right now. We have guys that are balanced in. [Reporter: You said they’re still finding where they fit. What’s the next step for them?] I’d say that Shoresy can be a more productive guy in terms of the actual goals and assists part. I think he’s a really reliable player and he’s been an awesome penalty killer for us this year and his ability to take faceoffs against top centermen has really gone up for us. He can play with a lot of different guys. He’s got a little more experience, I think, even though he’s younger than Dowd in terms of being able to handle himself on the ice in situations. Dowder, he’s shown that he can be a pretty good power play guy for us in terms of making the play or hanging onto the puck and making a good decision with it. Obviously his play in his own zone, playing away from the puck [inaudible], all those things, in terms of what those really third and fourth line centermen bring, so for sure that he has to improve on.

On working special teams a day after the power play didn’t get on the ice:
It’s got nothing to do with yesterday. We haven’t had many chances. We haven’t practiced the power play – this was on our schedule. Just like last night’s game was on the schedule, today’s power play practice was on the schedule. [Reporter: So when you have a day like that today, what are the things that you reinforce?] We get different types of penalty killing teams. It’s much different than the old days where teams played the box and blocked shots. There’s different tendencies that teams have, and you try and make the players aware of them, and they get sick of video, so it’s nice for them to be able to practice it and do it to, so that’s what they do. [Reporter: Teaching, learning, watching, doing.] Yeah, you go out and do it, it gives them the feel-good part of it instead of just watching it on video. [Reporter: What percentage of that type of reinforcement with special teams normally is video, and what percentage of it is actually going out and doing it?] Well, penalty killing, they’re totally different, obviously, power play and penalty killing. It’s not that easy to practice penalty killing, because I don’t want to pound the puck into you and break your ankle. Penalty killing is more routes and situations and feeding off each other and things like that, so you want guys that really care about it, take great pride in it, so you’re trying to just do that. We added more players to our penalty killing this year in more prominent situations for sure – meaning Shore and King. If you do a lot by percentages and data, meaning who’s been on the ice, if you do it, goals-against. [Reporter: King.] So, those guys have got a lot of situations, and that’s how it should be. Power play’s different. Power plays – I’m not into percentage stuff on power plays, it’s got no bearing on nothing. It’s more on goals scored and who’s got them. If you look at our team, Jeff has seven power play goals, so that’s significant. We went through years, I beliee it was maybe our last Cup year where Kopi didn’t have a power play goal the whole year, so how important? I think the power play, it’s a hot and cold deal. It goes by seasons. If you look at our team, our personnel hasn’t changed dramatically. Obviously with injuries a little bit, Tyler and Marty’s been points on the top with Kopi and Jeff and Muzz. We’ve tried four forwards. Hey, it changes, but I’m more interested in the power play scoring big goals. That’s sort of the way I look at it.

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