January 11 practice quotes: Darryl Sutter

On what the team tries to accomplish after a day off from hockey:
Sharpen up. Guys need their days off for sure, time off for different reasons. Guys who play a lot or injured – it’s like injuries, things like that, or to freshemn up, that sort of thing. But it’s important to get sharp again, too. We play every other day for these next four games. [Reporter: Is it more the mental or the physical part?] I think both. Everybody’s different. I think different skill sets require different repetition.

On whether there were things he didn’t like about the Muzzin-Martinez pairing on Monday:
It was not just a Muzzin-Marty contribution. They scored five goals on us. One was a faceoff goal, all the other four were all possession plays. The last goal, the winning goal they scored, our goalie had the puck, gave ’em an empty net. They were all plays – not full possession – but plays where we touched pucks. It’s not necessarily on them.

On Anze Kopitar having played a lot of hockey this year, and whether it was addressed with him:
Got hurt, missed how many games? Five? So he’s had lots of time off. I know this summer was the very same for all World Cup guys, but it’s not any different for him. I mean, he was a star player who represented his country at the World Cup. There’s, what 150 players in the league that did it? So we gave him lots. We gave him time off when he came back after training camp, and then he got banged up so he couldn’t do much, so he missed a couple weeks there. Probably 10 days, at least? Two weeks? He’s a guy that quite honest has to have high-pace practices to maintain his pace during the game. [Reporter: The injury, how much do you think it affected him at all? His offensive numbers aren’t great at the moment, but has it just been trying to get back into a flow … or anything?] I’m sure the first couple games back after everybody came back at 100%. It’s not like he came back at 80 or 90. He came back at 100, and if you were at the last game, you would’ve seen he had a goal and an assist, so he’s still on pace to win the Rocket Richard and finish in the top-10.

On what spurred Monday’s offensive outburst:
We scored four goals our last two games. You should win both games. That’s all I’ll say about it, if you were at the games. You score four goals, you should win. We gave up the fewest shots in the league again. You shouldn’t have to score five. [Reporter: I mean, I was just asking you what was working well when you were scoring, aside from obviously scoring.] You score four goals. Obviously if you understand the game you’re doing lots of things well. I don’t have to get into it. I value your opinion more than you value mine. [laughs] [Reporter: I value your opinion about what was going on.] Hey, the bottom line is, if you scored four goals, you should win. What do you mean, ‘what was going on?’ We scored four goals the night before, too. The night before we didn’t score any or one or whatever it was against Detroit, and it was, ‘Holy cow, these guys were bad.’ Jeez, amazing what a day of difference does.

On how the captaincy has affected Anze Kopitar:
The leadership in today’s game is about example. It’s way different than not that many years ago when it was vocal leadership. Again, you’re asking the same thing you did last year about Dustin Brown. These guys are a part of a leadership group. It’s not like an isolated thing. When the captaincy was handed over, everybody said it was ‘stripped’ from Brownie. It was not stripped from Brownie. It was handed over to Kopi, right, because of the same thing as when Brownie got it. It’s handed over, and it’s the same group. Our sport is one that puts C’s and A’s on jerseys. Quite honest, you guys don’t know what goes on in the locker room, nor do the fans. So everybody who thinks they’re the captain or who should be the captain and all that, you really don’t have much of a handle on it, right? Guys who’ve played in the room or been in the room for long understand who the group is, and you go from there. When you talk to the group of leadership guys, they’re guys that, if you understand the game, you can see on the ice that they lead by example. So those are the guys that you should lean on to make decisions on your schedule, your travel, ‘how’s this young guy making out?’ That’s what you’re doing. It’s not something where there’s like a general and a bunch of soldiers. Everybody’s on the same page, and sometimes it goes good, sometimes it doesn’t. Kopi, I think he’s a great leader. I think Jeff Carter’s a great leader. I think Drew’s growing into being a great leader. I think Brownie’s a great leader. It’s why we’re a good team. It’s why they’ve been a good team. Heck, if you do it, this team’s played more games and won more games over the last number of years with those guys as a unit since Jeff came than probably any other team in hockey other than Chicago, so there’s a good reason why. Hey, if we have any drop in our room this year, it’d be because Jonathan’s not in there – because he’s part of that group. That would be the drop, not just because of the position and how good it is, but because of what he brings to the locker room. I have a lot of trust and faith in that group of guys. It’s not isolated to one guy to stick the pole in the air.

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