I’m Really Starting to Like This Darryl Sutter Guy
Below are some recent quotes and media clippings from Kings head coach Darryl Sutter:
LA Kings Insider – Kopitar gets another chance to rest, recover:
18 January 2012
In general, coach Darryl Sutter is making more of an effort to keep Kopitar fresh. Under Terry Murray, Kopitar played at least 20 minutes in 27 of 29 games this season. So far, under Sutter, Kopitar has been under 20 minutes in six of 14 games. That’s not a dissatisfaction with Kopitar’s game. Sutter has been trimming Kopitar’s penalty-kill minutes in an attempt to keep him fresher for 5-on-5 play.
Crowned Royal – Shorthanded Time on Ice:
December 1, 2011
I noticed something while watching the last Penguins game on Versus. When the Penguins were on a penalty kill, Edzo announced that Pittsburgh’s star players were going to be well rested after that kill to make a charge at a comeback.
That led me to think about if the Kings were in the same scenario, it wouldn’t be possible to say that, because the Kings star players also kill penalties. Do you really want to keep seeing Anze Kopitar blocking shots? I sure as hell do not.
This whole thing was pretty obvious. Along with many other things that Terry Murray missed, because he is a teacher, not a strategist.
Darryl Sutter Pre Game Interview – Kings Vision:
January 12, 2012
Question: Were you pleased with the shot mentality of the last game?
Answer: Shots? We don’t have a shot problem… If you look in the league, we’re as good as there is as far as shots for and shots against… That’s not a problem, it’s getting the skill guys to stay in those tough areas. There’s not very many first-shot goals in this league. Usually if it’s a first shot goal, it’s a mistake somewhere.”
Crowned Royal – A Shot Mentality:
November 3, 2011
My theory is that if you shoot the puck every time you get in the offensive zone, there is no possible way to setup a play and find someone in the scoring zone.
We’ve seen this on the power play for years. The Kings don’t move the puck around to find an open man, they move it to get an open shot from the point, hoping that either someone is screening the goaltender or will be there for the rebound. On the power play, this works because you have the defense outnumbered, and are more likely to get to the rebound.
Some other things that I like that Sutter has done:
- Going with the hot hand in the shootout- Murray would have never taken Stoll out of the shootout after what he did last season, even though he has been cold this year. But last night he was replaced with Jack Johnson, and even though he didn’t score (because he only has one move) he has been successful in the past and it’s good to mix it up to keep the goalies guessing.
- Recognizing intangibles– like slotting Mike Richards last in the shootout because he is clutch.
- Putting Jack Johnson with Matt Greene– Murray would have considered this a demotion, but the way Sutter rotates the defensive lines has blurred the concept of ‘top four’. Put players together based on who they best play with, not who should play the most minutes. Then give whoever needs more minutes time on special teams.
- Having faith in Loktionov– Murray only ever gave him one game, sometimes less, to ‘show him something‘. He bounced around lines and positions so many times he never got a chance to find his groove. Of course, he hasn’t scored a goal yet, but he is getting better with every game. Lately his puck possession, defensive reads, and passes are among the best on the team, if not THE best. Along those lines-
- Not putting players in the doghouse mysteriously– Quisp has touched on this a lot, but Murray frequently harped on and sometimes benched players somewhat mysteriously- some players got put in the doghouse when they weren’t scoring and some didn’t- even though Murray’s focus was allegedly ‘team defense’. There is one player, however, that is consuming more popcorn than gatorade-
- Benching Kevin Westgarth regularly– From everything I’ve read or seen, Westgarth is a great guy, a great teammate, and works his ass off. But, as I’ve said before, his role is simply not needed.
- Trying new setups on the power play– he has moved away from the traditional 3-2 setup on occasion to open up the middle of the ice more. Getting help from Bernie Nicholls has been a savvy move to get something going on the power play, and it has worked to a degree.
- Getting everyone in the special teams mix– he has been throwing all lines in on the power play in spurts, and putting just about everyone out on the penalty kill. This boosts players’ confidence and, as mentioned in the principle point of this article, gives the top players more rest.
- Being a salty interview– While Terry Murray was an utter lack of any personality, Sutter isn’t that much more dynamic, and if he has any personality it can only be described as very dry and very brief. Though he seems to enjoy joking with reporters about their own stupid questions. He kind of has an attitude of, I’ve been doing this for so long and the game is changing but the questions aren’t, why do I have to go through this? And I think it’s kind of hilarious.
The bottom line is- this team is playing for him, and they are starting to put together an identity. It still looks like they play down to bad teams and up to good teams, but for some reason I get the feeling that the days of faltering after success are over. No more losing streaks after winning stints; no more choking with a 4-0 lead. At least I hope.
If this guy, the one we all were so reluctant to let take the reins of our beloved team, is the one to keep this team focused and guide them to what they are supposed to be, it doesn’t matter if he reminds me of incoherent Sylvester Stallone.