Throughout these playoffs, especially over the last couple of rounds, it seems that no day has been complete without speaking to Los Angeles Kings' head coach Darryl Sutter.
On his team's off-day before the Stanley Cup Final switches its venue to New York for the next two contests, Sutter was able to give his insights on, among other topics, what he and his team will prepare for heading into Game 3 of their series versus the New York Rangers.
Here's what Sutter had to say:
NHL Public Relations
June 8, 2014
An interview with:
COACH DARRYL SUTTER
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Sutter.
Q. Almost every player to a man, including you, have been saying, We can't keep doing this, we can’t keep falling behind, it's not going to work. Yet you keep doing it. How are you getting it done?
COACH SUTTER: We played much better last night. We don’t tend to have the lead always. I think we’ve been through that quite a bit here in Los Angeles. … I think we get better as the series goes on. Based on the series, based on goals scored, we’re in pretty good position.
Q. You mentioned the fatigue yesterday. Going into a game with one day off.
COACH SUTTER: The middle of this series is all every other day. That the normal schedule for National Hockey League players.
Q. The fatigue level in both teams, but a lot of overtime for you guys.
COACH SUTTER: Three in a row. A lot of hockey. There's always lots of talk about depth and those things. Somebody is on a little bit of a roll or not. They'll talk about having depth, not having depth.
Depth only matters when you win. You need depth when you get to overtime games and games after overtime games. We've managed to do that. We’ve moved guys around. Obviously guys get banged up and things like that. But that is your biggest issue always in a series. It's not just playing guys, it's getting the quality, getting good minutes out of them.
Q. How do you feel about Kopitar so far and do you expect him to step up and start scoring a little bit more?
COACH SUTTER: Scoring? I think he's leading the playoffs in scoring, I think. Not necessarily the goals part of it.
He was a major component of two goals last night that we scored. A big part of our team, obviously.
Q. Does that win have anything more to do mentally than anything else if you're looking at two straight games coming back and winning? I think Dustin Brown was asked about breaking their spirit. Does that kind of stuff come in mentally at all?
COACH SUTTER: I don't know about the other team. But for us, you're never not of the belief that you can't come back or you're not going to win.
We’ve played a lot of hockey in May and June over the past three seasons. You have to do that at some point during series or during games. It's just the belief in that.
It’s not so much to do with the Rangers. It's sticking to our game, guys making a difference here or there. Last night, just because it was 2-0 had nothing to do with the game before. We didn't play better last night because the Rangers had a 2-0 lead in Game 1. But we did play better last night.
Q. In terms of the physical element, have these two games shown that as the games go along they do start to take a toll on the Rangers and their speed?
COACH SUTTER: I think last night was a really even match in that last night, both ways. The physical part of the game - Both teams demonstrated it at points during the game. I thought our first period was our best period of that.
Speed is only a factor if one team….One team is not faster than the other. That is not an issue. When one of the teams turns the puck over, it makes it looks like somebody is faster.
Q. Jeff Carter took a pretty big hit last night, how did he perform afterward?
COACH SUTTER: He came back and played 20-some minutes last night.
Q. Is he okay today?
COACH SUTTER: We're not discussing, or I'm not discussing injuries anymore because I don't have to. It makes no sense for me to talk about injuries when all it does is gives information to the other team, so...
Q. How did you assess Drew Doughty's performance yesterday?
COACH SUTTER: He played extremely well for us. When you win in overtime, you play that long, better not be picking apart players.
They leave it all out there.
Q. Drew was 41:41 yesterday, was Drew getting better when he was in that 32, 35, 37 range?
COACH SUTTER: Getting better? He was more sustaining his game than getting better. It's not easy to play that much or play that long.
Q. Do you take any credit for your team's psychological toughness?
COACH SUTTER: No, I’m not very mentally tough (laughter). I can barely get through it.
Q. Does much change for your team that you switched venues and you don’t have last change?
COACH SUTTER: We all roll lines, but I think you have to try to make sure who is on the ice in certain situations. You have centerman, you have defenseman. It's a challenge. You're not going to play a series without playing games on the road.
That's the best part of playing the Rangers, you get to play in Madison Square Garden. For sure the best of the old-time buildings.
Q. What did you think of the renovations when you were here earlier this year?
COACH SUTTER: I thought they did a good job. From a hockey standpoint, the boards, ice, benches were all a significant change obviously from before.
Q. Does it matter where you play?
COACH SUTTER: It's mattered. We've had good games on the road and we've had games where guys have struggled. The last series we played, we played really good in the United Center. Game 1, we lost 3-1, I thought we played our best game of the series. Then we lost in overtime. We thought we played really well. Then we won in there, so...
You know, we trust ourselves on the road. That's what you try and do.
Q. You mentioned fatigue as a possible issue before the game yesterday. Now you had a double overtime game and a cross-country trip. What is the team's mindset?
COACH SUTTER: I think the longer series go, the longer the playoffs go, courage, determination, extra effort. You're never going to feel fresh. You're never going to feel as good as you did in November. That’s the way it works. That's for sure. They're people.
Q. Sometimes people talk about home-ice advantage. You mentioned the excitement for visiting teams at Madison Square Garden. Do you think the visitors are almost as excited to be there as the home team?
COACH SUTTER: I've been coming to Madison Square Garden for 30-some years. I know it’s been refurbished, but the fans are still the same. They love their team and they hate the other team. That’s what you like. You like going into buildings that are like that. They're loud, they say they hate you, all those things, it's good.
Q. Regehr has been out for quite a while. Is that the hard part of deciding if to bring him back?
COACH SUTTER: I believe yesterday it’s five weeks. Darn right it’s a consideration when you think about it.
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