When fans of the Los Angeles Kings woke up out of bed this morning, they were looking forward to one thing: seeing their beloved team hoist Lord Stanley's mug at day's end for the second time in three years. But the coaching staff and players would likely have a different approach. Instead, they will be staying the course, treating Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final like any other game. The key for the Los Angeles Kings is not to get overconfident.
This morning, Kings' head coach Darryl Sutter was asked about, among other things, the chemistry between Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar and what a day like today means to him. For a little variety, Sutter was even a bit more descriptive in his answers, steering away from his usual succinct ways. But not to worry: the coach was just as entertaining as he's always been.
NHL Public Relations:
June 11, 2014
An interview with:
COACH DARRYL SUTTER
Q. Have you ever been a guy that could read a team's mental state off of a morning skate or is it all going to be a mystery?
COACH SUTTER: I think once you get to know your team you do. It's not always the same with every team, where you're at, time of year, all those things.
Generally with our group, just the way the schedule works. With travel you always know ahead of time what you're doing, game days what we want to accomplish, the day before the game, all those things.
If we all skated yesterday, we wouldn't today, so... In terms of getting a read from morning skate, I don't base how we play on that, but just in our whole preparation part.
Q. Darryl, how long do you think it took Marian Gaborik to sort of fit into this group that's been around a while? You stuck with him and Kopitar for a while right at the start. It's now working. Is there something to be said for patience there?
COACH SUTTER: That was our plan, was to play him with Kopitar. That's what we did. I think there were high expectations when we got him, so that's what we did.
In terms of sticking with him, being patient, we were a team that was fighting for a playoff spot and we expected a lot out of him right away.
I don't think it's necessarily being patient. I think it was more knowing full well what he could bring and not trying to change that 'cause that doesn't work.
Q. You're a pretty intense guy on game days. A day like this torture for you?
COACH SUTTER: No, it's not at all actually. 8:00 start is a little bit of a stretch. But I told the players this morning I was going after a practice goal in MSG. That's pretty good.
Q. When you're in the middle of one of these runs, do you have contact with your brothers or do they just leave you alone?
COACH SUTTER: I talk to all of them a lot either via phone or text, more to see what's going on. They're at home. Them checking to see how we're doing.
I mean, they're pretty smart hockey guys. They can see how you're playing and how certain guys are playing. They can offer you that.
Q. You used the word 'unique' yesterday with Justin Williams. What is unique about him and do you have a comparison?
COACH SUTTER: What's unique is he's a consistent player every night home and road and he scores big goals and he understands his role. A lot of times, players like that don't understand their role.
I've said this before, I really didn't know Justin as a player that well till he came here because basically he was Carolina, Philadelphia. You don't see those teams very often other than on TV. For someone to learn by video or learn by watching... You need to know the person.
I think 'unique' is another way of saying very consistent, very solid, understanding your role on a good hockey team.
Q. You mentioned yesterday that the organization learned a lot from going through this two years ago, 3-0. Did you do something different this time in terms of tickets and families?
COACH SUTTER: We were at home. Now we're on the road.
Q. Do you feel Jeff Carter has helped elevate the game of Toffoli and Pearson?
COACH SUTTER: I think a lot. Jeff Carter's a top player in the National Hockey League. Anytime you get to play with a top player, either you elevate your game or you don't play with them.
Q. It was asked yesterday if you could compare Justin Williams to anybody.
COACH SUTTER: The only player I could come up with that was real similar in terms of big games and veteran experience and consistency, playing for a long time, playing on championships, was Martin Gelinas.
*FastScripts by ASAP Sports