Following their thrilling overtime win over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, many of the Los Angeles Kings were available for interview on the first of their two off-days before Game 2.
First up, head coach Darryl Sutter.
NHL Public Relations
June 5, 2014
2014 STANLEY CUP FINAL OFF-DAY TRANSCRIPT
An interview with:
COACH DARRYL SUTTER
Q. You mentioned last night you didn't think you were on full tanks of gas. Guys were talking about heavy legs. Did you sense that was a vulnerable game for you before it started?
COACH SUTTER: Yes. I think obviously the turnaround, guys are not machines. It was an emotional series against Chicago, Game 7. You play seven games, actually three overtime periods in there, when you add that in there you're close to eight games when it was all said and done. It was tough.
Then we had to get home in the middle of the night, have the whole Media Day, had to practice in the afternoon, which is not their normal schedule.
Hopefully this will recharge us a little bit.
Q. Not a lot of surprises among coaches. You would have told the players what to expect from the Rangers. Sometimes players need to feel it. Justin Williams said they were surprised by the speed of the Rangers' wingers.
COACH SUTTER: We talked a lot about it, but you still have to engage in it. When you play each other early in the year, then I believe the middle of November, how many changes there have been.
So that is an adjustment, too. There's quite a few different players in both lineups last night. Then you go to the next step, because we won the Cup in '12, but there's a lot of guys playing their first Stanley Cup Final last night, five or six, and that's a lot. I think that could have been an issue early, too.
Q. Besides getting the victory last evening, what were a couple things that impressed you most about the way your team performed?
COACH SUTTER: I think sort of going back to the previous question. When you're talking about guys with heavy legs, there's also guys that played really well for us.
I think especially Kyle played really well for us, not just because he scored, but he had a lot of energy for the game, played a really good role for us.
Q. Considering all that you just talked about, the resiliency of this team to be able to come from behind, the way you did it, can you describe how that happened and what that means to your team.
COACH SUTTER: Well, you can't chase leads all the time. The National Hockey League is the best league in the world. There's two teams left out there, which means that they both have come a long ways and they both had to be resilient. You don't get any award for being resilient.
We can play a lot better. It's way better when you're not chasing the lead.
Q. When you look at a player like Mike Richards who has been a first or second line center, how difficult is the transition for you as a coach and him as a player to adjust his role the way you have?
COACH SUTTER: I don't think it's very hard at all when you have a good relationship with players and you've had a track record of winning with those players. That player has a track record of winning and for sure understanding what his role is. Basically he just wins.
He's had to accept roles. Doesn't matter if you think he's a first line centerman or second line centerman.
The only reward for somebody like Mike Richards in all this is just winning. He's all set. He's won everything. It's just winning again, that's all.
Q. Quicky didn't get a lot of work in the third period, but he had to make two huge saves there. Is that almost tougher on a goalie when he's not facing a lot of shots for a certain time period and then has to respond?
COACH SUTTER: You'd have to ask Jonathan. I think he stays pretty focused. Gets over to the bench during timeouts. He's as involved in the game as guys are jumping over every three shifts.
I've never seen that as an issue. It affects them a little bit. But he's such a focused guy that I don't think that really has a big bearing on that.
Q. Willie Mitchell said at Media Day that Drew Doughty's maturity has grown, but the team has learned him before, adjusted to him. Are there things that you look at differently that he may have done a year or two ago that you tolerate more because he's built up some credibility with you?
COACH SUTTER: Plays a little more probably, for sure. Didn't kill penalties. Now he kills penalties. Plays against top players a lot. He's a young player. I think when you do all the analytics on athletes, he's a long ways from being as good as he's going to be just because of his age.
Q. What can he do better at the high level he's at right now?
COACH SUTTER: Learn to manage your ice time better, learn to manage what's going on on the ice. You become a better shot selection guy, you become a better penalty killer. You learn the league better, you learn players on the other teams better. Nuances of star players. You learn how to handle your practice habits, nutrition, what you do on game days. All that stuff.
What can he do better? As I said, there's a big difference between being 25 and 35.
Q. What are you thinking of Los Angeles, New York, hockey getting more publicity, selling the game in the U.S.
COACH SUTTER: I live here in Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles. Everybody knows what's going on with the Kings. It's great because it's a small town attitude or small town atmosphere.
We played Madison Square Garden earlier this year. It's a special place to play. Not just the city, but it's a special place to play because it still has a personality. It's not one of the generic buildings. It will be fun.
Q. Back to Drew. The injuries last year to Mitchell and Greene, how much did that help in his defensive game, the minutes he had to play?
COACH SUTTER: I don't think it had any effect on it. Willie Mitchell plays the left side. Greener is a totally different player than Drew.
To be honest, you're talking about last year. Our defense has changed a lot, so...
Q. On the winning goal last night, you had Richards with Williams on that line. Was that a mixed line, a feel thing?
COACH SUTTER: Partway through the first period, once I recognized guys didn't have their game, it wasn't just Mike and Willie, it was a lot of guys. Jeff played a lot with Kyle and Trevor. Stolly played with everybody. Basically we were trying to manage Kopy's game.
Q. There's a report that AEG might be considering the sale of the team shortly after the Stanley Cup Final. What is your reaction to that?
COACH SUTTER: I didn't know that.
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