Kings’ Coach Sutter: We’re a Team That’s Going to Respond

Los Angeles Kings Coach Darryl Sutter addressed the media after Tuesday’s practice.

Q. From your time playing, past coaching, is there a parallel or a comparison you can draw to another player like Justin Williams?
COACH SUTTER: Good question. Just trying to think of guys I played with and then guys I coached. I’d probably have to think about it ’cause there’s not one guy that jumps out as the very same.

Q. Williams is a unique individual?
COACH SUTTER: Unique. I’ll come up with one, but too much going on there. I’ll get you a good one (laughter).

Q. Why do you think you’ve outlasted all your brothers as an NHL coach? What did you learn from Brian?
COACH SUTTER: I don’t think ‘outlast’ is a really good way of saying it. They all played longer than I did. I was coaching when I was forced into coaching at 29 years old. That’s what I did in order to stay in the game because I couldn’t play no more, so…Obviously with that, you know, I was the only one of my brothers that went up through the system, meaning coaching in the minors, coaching an organization, and advancing through the coaching with the organization, meaning being an assistant coach, being a head coach. That is still the way to be a coach for a long time and be a top coach.

Q. Darryl, just regarding your captain, Dustin Brown, he said himself he didn’t have the kind of regular season that he hoped to have. When it really matters now, this time of year, does he epitomize in some ways your team?
COACH SUTTER: Well, he’s a big part of the identity of our hockey club. I think it’s kind of beating a dead horse. He and I have talked a lot about his regular season. The only thing that made the difference then was making the playoffs. Where he was going to make the difference was for our team to make the playoffs and then be a forceful player at playoff time. You know, the type of person he is, that’s deep down what he wanted. Nobody was more dissatisfied with his regular season more than Brownie was. It’s good to see him have some success. It’s good to see him on a team that’s still playing.

Q. You spent quite a long time chasing that Stanley Cup before winning it two years ago. What is it like to have another opportunity to do it again?
COACH SUTTER: Well, most players, coaches, trainers never get any chance, zero. So when you get the opportunity, and I’ve been fortunate to be in quite a few of them, so it’s always a testament to the group you have and to understand how tough it is. That’s why not many people or teams win it because it’s hard for them to take on the whole challenge of what it to is to win and the price you got to pay and the sacrifice you got to make.

Q. With all the accomplishments of your brothers, Duane and Brent winning with the Islanders, but you winning the Cup as a coach, does that give you special bragging rights?
COACH SUTTER: No. I think our family’s close enough — when they won it, we very seldom talked about it, other than being very proud of my brothers. That in itself is very special, they won six. I’m pretty proud of them.

Q. By virtue of all the experience that this team has amassed over the last three post-seasons, is there any different feeling going into Game 4 of this series than the New Jersey series?
COACH SUTTER: Game 4 was at home. There was a lot of distraction. I think that was a lesson learned not just for our players but for our whole organization. We were trying to keep our players as a little inner circle, which they still do. But the circle got a little bit of infringement (laughter).

Q. Darryl, going back to the first round, you go down three games to San Jose, what do you recall was the mood of your players after Game 3 and the days before Game 4?
COACH SUTTER: I don’t remember our mood after Game 3. I recall our mood the third period of Game 1 when we put Martin Jones in, we could see we’re not a team somebody says, go away, and we go away. We’re a team that’s going to respond. Doesn’t mean you’re always going to win, but you’re going to respond. The other team is going to know they played you. I saw that in period one of Game 3. We knew we were winning the series; it just took a little bit longer.

Q. Back to the play that Drew Doughty made on Rick Nash, he had that open net, the presence of mind to take that penalty. What did you think of that, and just Drew making different plays offensively or defensively?
COACH SUTTER: I think that play in particular, Nash a very forceful player for them the last two games, and you’re going to have to match his skill set to make a play like that. Nash is a special player, and so is Drew Doughty. You’re talking about two guys that made special plays there.

Q. Darryl, you talked a little bit about the character of the team. This has been the same core for a while. Is there anything new or different that you’ve learned from this group being different circumstances than it was two years ago?
COACH SUTTER: Well, the core is basically the same, but it’s certainly not the same type of team. If you just look at it from just the players that are playing last night, Gaborik, Pearson, Toffoli, Clifford, that’s four of your 12 guys that weren’t on that team that we go back to always. Muzzin. Those are five pretty significant players that had not played one second of a Stanley Cup Final. We’ll still evaluate those five guys as this series goes along to see how they’ve performed in the Stanley Cup Final.

Q. Does it still burn you that you didn’t win in Calgary when you might have that year?
COACH SUTTER: No, I moved on in a hurry. It’s something that everybody wants to talk about. You go to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup, you get beat 2-1. The best and worst part of winning is till you’ve won it, you don’t really understand what that is. Then when you lose, you’re pretty close to understanding it. Anybody that’s never been in either one of those positions, they’ll never understand it, never. That’s why there’s teams that say they’re happy to make the playoffs because they don’t understand the big goal part of it.

Q. Having been in this position before, is one of the toughest parts of being the coach drawing out that lineup when you have a chance to win the Cup and having to leave some guys out that you don’t want to?
COACH SUTTER: No. We’re trying to win a game. The sheet tells you you can only dress 20 players. If I could only dress 12, I’d dress 12. If I could dress 30, I’d dress 30. But it says 18 and 2, so you go, this is going to give us the best opportunity to win tonight.

Q. When you look back to when Dean called you in 2012, were you ever close to saying no?
COACH SUTTER: Yup. That was the first thing I said (laughter).

Q. What was the determining factor in saying yes then?
COACH SUTTER: I think being convinced that your team had a chance or you could put the team in a position to win a championship.

Q. How long did it take?
COACH SUTTER: It was quite a while. If you remember, Dean was very truthful when you look back at that on the whole how he went about it. Probably the first thing I told him was, You’ve got a good coach.