November 30 morning skate quotes: John Stevens

On anything behind the Kings’ strong record against the Eastern Conference:
The question was asked the other night. I just think the way the schedule was lined up, we’ve had a lot of games against the east to start the year, and we got off to a good start, obviously, and I think the games in the west, a lot of those have been heavily contested. There’s certainly a lot of focus on games in the division from both teams, so sometimes you get on the road and you’re traveling. You really bear down and get on a roll and get in road mode, and sometimes a team’s on the road, and you can catch them on a back-to-back, I think that’s happened on certain situations. But I don’t pinpoint any one reason. I think it’s a small sample size for the year. I mean, it’s still early in the season. A little past the quarter pole with the season, so I’m not quite sure why it’s worked out that way, but the schedule certainly presented a lot of match-ups with the Eastern Conference early on.

On whether there’s much difference between this Washington team and past teams:
Well, not really. They’ve still got the same dangerous players they’ve had before. I think the one thing with Washington that’s maybe overlooked is that they have a lot of skill, but they play a real physical brand of hockey. Their forecheck’s aggressive but physical and their forecheck is something they really look to establish a lot of offense from. And then outside of that, you’ve got Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Ovechkin, Oshie. They’ve got some dangerous guys on the back end. They’ve got a great goalie, so they have had a significant amount of change here, but I think the core of their team has stayed intact.

On sharing injury information, given Ken Hitchcock’s disclosure that he’s open to revealing it:
I would ask the question of why is it important that you know everything? I think sometimes it protects the players. Sometimes a player’s working through an injury. If he’s coming back, opponents might know – even if it’s a knee injury, they might try to take advantage of taking him wide. I mean, who knows, right? To me, I’m not saying I’m right, and I’m not saying I’m wrong, but what I will say is that the health of the player and the best interest of the player should always be at the forefront of any decision we’re making. I’m not going to discredit Hitch. [laughs] [Reporter: There are privacy issues involved, too.] Well, I just think the health of a player, I mean, if a player’s got some kind of a – maybe it’s a shoulder. Not that they’re trying to hurt players, but you are going to try and wear guys down. You’re going to try and find a crack in the armor. You might make sure you go out of your way to finish checks on that player above the rules and making sure that you’re disciplined and not crossing the line. But if Drew Doughty’s got a bad shoulder, then I’m going to make sure i finish my check on him every time. Or Kopitar or anybody else. I guess my question would be ‘why do they need to know everything?’ In the NFL, there’s a line. [Reporter: The NFL does the gambling stuff.] Right, so you’ve got to set the line, right? I get that. We don’t want gambling in hockey, do we?

-One quote withheld for today’s morning skate report
-Lead photo via Patrick McDermott/NHLI

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