Sutter officially headed to Hollywood
STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
|Darryl Sutter was officially named head coach of the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI AGENCY)
Darryl Sutter has finally been crowned as new head coach of the Los Angeles Kings.
Maybe now, after a week of speculation and slow progress in herding the former Calgary Flames coach and GM off his ranch and back to the NHL, we can return to the regularly scheduled battle to qualify for the playoffs.
With Sutter behind the bench, Kings GM Dean Lombardi hopes his players will have a better shot at sticking around for spring after underachieving through the first third of the season with Terry Murray at the helm.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla suggests things could quickly turn around on the coast with his former coach cracking skulls.
“It’ll definitely be different seeing him on the other side behind the bench. But (I’m) happy for him,” Iginla said, having to answer questions on the topic for the second time in about a week. “He’s a very good coach. He’s helped me a lot in my career. He’s helped a lot of the guys that have had him, especially as a coach when you have more interaction with the players.
“Unfortunately, it’s a team we’re battling with and there’s only so many playoff spots, but he’s a good coach and I wish him well.”
Sutter coached the Flames from December of 2002 until the fall of 2006 when he handed the reins to Jim Playfair and focused exclusively on the general manager position he held simultaneously for two seasons.
His blunt style helped push the workmanlike Flames all the way to the Stanley Cup final in 2004 despite the fact they weren’t the most talented team in the post-season.
How his personality affects a Kings team with plenty of offensive talent — including many of their defencemen — remains to be seen, but he’ll be introduced officially to Kings followers Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles after leading his first practice that morning.
Sutter’s first game comes Thursday night against the rival Anaheim Ducks.
The first brother battle between Darryl and Flames head coach Brent Sutter will come Jan. 14 at the Saddledome.
Brent Sutter says he’s happy for his elder brother, who hired Brent to guide the Flames before the 2009-10 season.
“Good for him. He obviously wanted to get back to it,” said Brent, who teamed with GM Jay Feaster when Darryl was asked to resign Dec. 28 last season in part for his management failures in the salary-cap era.
“I’ve said from the start Darryl is a good coach. His niche is coaching,” he added. “He went from coach to GM and now he gets an opportunity to go back and be a coach.”
“That’s really always been his niche. It’s what he’s always wanted to do.”
Now everyone else can get back to what they were doing.
On Twitter: @SUNMacfarlane