In honor of Darryl Sutter’s first game, I will supplement Surly’s post game with this (quotes via Rich Hammond):
(The game) “It was a hard-fought game for us. I thought we had a good start and did a lot of good things. We can improve on some of those things, get better at some of those things.’’
The L.A. Kings controlled most of the 60 minutes. I also saw some encouraging signs. 1) The Kings weren’t a slave to the half-boards. Every zone entry did not result in the puck being sent to the point for shot through bodies and sticks. 2) The Kings were looking for one timers. I saw more one time attempts (even the shanked ones) this game than any other I recall this season and not just on the powerplay but 5 on 5 as well. 3) The forecheck was better. Not great, but better. Still want to see that F3 activate more.
(What he liked) “I liked the way our forwards played. I thought they were really good in all three zones. I think we moved the puck pretty good. I know our power play didn’t score, but they certainly had a lot of good opportunities, and that’s a good thing. And then obviously, to kill that power play in overtime, against three or four of those guys that they put on the ice, we did a good job. Mitchell and Greene and Stoll and Richards and Kopitar, they really did a good job.’’
Dustin Brown was a beast. Hitting, passing, shooting and scoring. That pass by Anze Kopitar – Wow – it brought me out of my seat. I was nearly airborne before Brown even touched the puck. Brad Richardson fit well. He is a spark plug. He was going to the net, even providing screens. He fought for pucks in the corners and came away with them. I would like to see Richardson (since he is playing left wing) get himself open for one timers around the left dot. Trevor Lewis drew a penalty. His speed is his most important asset. Simone Gage…meh…Justin Williams…meh…although he was hustling. Mike Richards…that goal was a beauty but I didn’t notice him much in the third period. Incidentally, did Dustin Penner get a shift in the third? I swear if he did, I must have missed it each time. At one point I was trying to find him on the bench.
(Doughty) “He will get better. I think both of those kids, Johnson and Doughty both, have huge upside and we’ve got to work on that.’’
I will get flack for this, but I thought Drew sucked on the defensive side of the game. His coverages, his reads, he looked one step behind. Jack Johnson – I didn’t notice him as much and I will just chalk it up to one of those games where I had a mental block with certain players. Did Jack have a good game? Help a brother out.
(His emotions) “I was pretty focused all day. I was thinking more about how to use your players. It’s like I told them before the game. `You guys better pay attention, because I’ll get Mike Richards and Brad Richardson mixed up. [laughs]’’
This made me laugh. It’s funny because it’s not a joke – it’s Sutting true. Can’t you see Sutter doing this?
(Dustin Brown and Mike Richards) “As I said, I think our forwards were good. I don’t think it’s based on who scores the goals. I think they’ve got to work together. Brown’s goal is a great play by Kopitar.’’
(Return to the bench) “There’s nothing like game day. Even when I was sitting upstairs, game day is still the best part of the whole game.’’
I honestly had butterflies in my stomach driving to the game. It felt like I was going to a playoff game. I didn’t calm down until the end of the first period.
(Improved energy on the bench) “It’s no big deal. That’s no big deal. It’s really got nothing to do with me. These young guys, that’s a big reason why I came, these young guys and then the quality of the type of people that we have with our veterans. That’s really important. We’ve just kind of got to edge our way along. If we had lost 3-2 tonight in a shootout, I’d still be saying the same things, and some of us would not be agreeing with me. You’ve got to walk before you can run. Like I said yesterday, it’s a 3-2 league and it was 3-2 again.’’
Darryl can downplay it but there was an energy tonight. He wasn’t sitting there, stoic and aloof. I watched him. He moved back and forth, he was into this game (the classic forward tilt, one leg up, hand on chin pose), he was talking to the players. Sutter was involved on the bench.
(How he picked the players for the shootout) “That’s who they used in Toronto, right? It worked pretty good there. I just wanted to confirm with them, because the goalie tonight is a right-hand catcher and not a left-hand catcher, so it does sometimes make a difference to some players.’’
File this under smart. If it isn’t broke…
Two quick points – we damn near lost this game in overtime on the penalty kill. Teemu Selanne does not mishandle too many gimmes like that. Fuck Lubomir Visnovsky. I am so over that punk. I will shit on his cookies and feed it to him. He is forever a Duck to me after tonight’s game.