That Bitter Beer Face Can Make Our Boys Better?

From George Johnson of the Calgary Herald:

That bitter beer face. Those caustic rejoinders. The contemptuous snort. The manipulation. The condescension.

Ah, the memories come flooding back …

Why, it’s enough to make the hardest-hearted scribbler dab away a nostalgic tear from the corners of leaky lids.

In the short term, if mounting speculation is to be believed (and there are no persuasive reasons to doubt it), Darryl Sutter, recycled as coach only, will make the L.A. Kings better.

Don’t for a moment, despite the messy way his grating one-man show ended here, be conned into believing otherwise.

Outside of a couple uncomfortable sightings on the Saddledome JumboTron, the man who went from messiah to pariah in this town has kept a low public profile since his dismissal — sorry “resignation” — almost a year ago.

He’s expected to re-surface soon, though, as early as today, and be officially named head coach of the 13-12-4 Kings.

Yes, he can be as much fun as foot fungus, his methods are archaic and manner overbearing, but the man’s bench resume can’t help but instil increasingly disillusioned Kings’ fans with fresh hope — whipping teams like galley slaves to certain levels of effort and achievement has been his history.

Enjoy the rest of the Darryl Sutter article.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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17 replies

  1. I think I just puked in my mouth a little.

    This must be one big joke to all the writers and pundits out there. They all know it’s a bad idea, but they’re willing it to happen anyway.

  2. Scribe, Vegas,

    I think I sort of agree with this now, when you think about it a certain way.

    I’ll explain. I think we all agree, Terry Murray was brought in to be the transitional coach, to teach the young players defense and maturity, to teach the team how to win–up until a certain point, and then he would get taken over by a new coach who could take them the rest of the way with fresh ideas.

    We all agree that was why he was brought in, right? Or at least that was our ideal situation for him.

    Now Murray’s transitional stint is done, he’s taken the Kings as far as he can, and everyone thinks it’s time for the third step after 1. rebuild coach, 2. transitional coach, which would be 3. the coach with fresh ideas that will take the Kings to the Cup.

    And I think we also all agree, Daryl Sutter is not that. Sutter is a terrible choice for the fresh thinker. Theres no way he has creativity to help the offense and bring the Kings a Cup.

    And if Im not mistaken Surly, Scribe, everyone else, that’s why you hate the idea, right? That’s why I hated the idea until I realized the following:

    What if Terry Murray failed? What if this team isn’t even ready for the 3rd step, the fresh-thinking coach? Terry Murray certainly succeeded in one aspect of step 2, teaching the young players defense. But not maturity. Not learning how to win. Not even learning how to work, the #1 most important thing for any young player, or player, period, in this league.

    You can bring in all the fresh ideas you want to, but they won’t take the Kings anywhere as long as Drew Doughty is a walking lard pile all over the ice.

    That’s where Sutter is a plus. The only place he’s a plus, but it’s a huge place. Elite defenseman Drew Doughty vs average top 4 guy Drew Doughty is a huge difference, alone a big enough difference to account for losing a playoff series as opposed to winning it.

    Would I prefer someone who could motivate Doughty and everyone else to work hard enough and bring fresh ideas? Maybe teach them to work the rest of the regular season, and use fresh ideas to win the Cup this year, or at least next year? Of course. But I dont know who that is.

    All I know is the players arent ready to win anything right now. Naturally we want to jump ahead and win the Cup this year with a creative coach, but after thinking about it, I dont think the players are ready for that. Last year was supposed to be Doughty’s stupid sophomore slump, when he was slow as hell and ineffective, no longer the elite player anymore. Last year was supposed to be the wasted season, in large part because Doughty decided to waste it. But he was supposed to learn from that. But he looks even slower now!

    Hes not ready to win. Logan Couture, not anywhere as big as him, drafted closer to 10th overall than 1st like he was, nowhere near the talent that Doughty was touted as, completely schools him every time the two play. Couture is so obsessed with winning, it’s a little annoying to watch him give a big “fuck you” gesture to the crowd every time he scores like he’s the most awesome thing to ever grace our planet, or mutter a “fuck” every time he doesnt score on a shot. Or put on this stoney face of anguish after every loss. But you can tell he works his ass of in the offseason, and he cares about nothing more than winning hockey games. Thats why he keeps getting better and Doughty keeps getting worse. Thats why he beat Doughty last postseason when Doughty should be beating him. Thats why little Logan Couture is actually a better player now than Drew Doughty. Dont get be wrong, Doughty is way more talented, and could be better than Couture if he wanted to. He just doesnt seem to give a shit.

    So in that light maybe we should all reconsider Sutter. If he can do one thing, and one thing only, and that is whip Drew Doughty into top condition (and who knows if even Sutter can do that), then maybe it’s worth it. Then maybe they can move on to bigger and better things. But as long as Doughty, and who knows who else is out of shape and not working hard enough (Clifford is having a down year, same with Stoll, same with everybody…chances are at least some of that is also because of the same thing, slacking off during the summer), this team is not ready for bigger and better things, they arent ready for step 3, and so in that light it sort of makes more sense why Lombardi would hire a second step 2 coach when we were expecting a step 3 one, if Im making sense.

    What do you guys think? I mean if Nicklas Lidstrom was just a decent top 4 defenseman instead of an elite #1, do you think the Wings would have won the Cup? If Crosby was a good second line center instead of the best player in the world, would the Penguins have? The Kings dont have ten other superstars. It’s Doughty first and foremost, Kopitar, and Mike Richards, sort of. They need Doughty to be at his absolute best, and hes not. Everyone ignores this, but its a huge huge huge deal. Until that gets fixed the Kings wont go anywhere. Murray couldnt fix this, it even happened in the first place under his watch. Ditto for Lombardi. In general Im a proponent of younger coaches with fresh, creative ideas, even if they dont have NHL experience, but the one area those coaches definitely have a disadvantage is whipping star players into shape. If Doughty didnt listen to Murray hes not going to listen to a no name coach coming from the AHL. Sutter has a better chance than anyone I can think of of getting Doughty and the rest working again.

    • I don’t buy any of the transitional arguments – this concept of a “bridge coach” is revisionist and is justifying Lombardi’s second failure in choosing a head coach. Nobody brings in a head coach to take them to “a certain point”. Coaches become part of the culture, part of the team and they implement their systems which then become ingrained in the players. Lombardi screwed up – twice – whether Sutter is his third remains to be seen. The odds are against Sutter and Lombardi and he seems to be, on the surface repeating past mistakes.

      • If he hires Sutter then he better hope we win a cup in 2 or 3 years max. That’s about the lifespan of a hard ass like Sutter. Even his biggest advocates will agree that his kind of act loses its meaning with a group after a relatively short time span.

        • He did coach in San Joser for a while, but yeah, in Chicago, and Calgary, his act did get old coaching wise. Keenan is another inflamatory type that teams bring in to attempt to whip the teams that hire him into shape, only to regret it after a relatively short time span.

          Nothing like hiring an asshole to put the fear of god into your employees.

    • DD still needs to mature. The right coach will help but I don’t think it’s gonna excellerate things to where he’s gonna get it down this season. I’d say he’s at least two years away from doing what he’s “supposed” to be doing.

  3. If nothing else, from what I heard Ingala say about him this week when asked, he doesn’t take crap from any of his players. If you arena’t playing up to what he feels you need to be , you’re benched. (Ingala was benched). He said Sutter made him a better player. There is accontability for your actions, he demands that.

    That’s one thing this team needs, as good as TM was in a teaching aspect, he lacked the killer fire. If you watched 24/7, you saw Torts and Lavvy both lighting up their teams.
    He’ll do that…
    Hopefully he’ll make better decisions on lines.

    It should not have taken TM 22 games to put Gagne with Richards…and Richardson shoudn’t hav ebeen benched so many times in favor or Moreau and Hunter

    I agree about Doughty and think Sutter could be a guy who could make him better but his aggresive nature. Doughty is the key for this team moving forward and deep, he’s suppoesd to be s tud Dman, time to man up and put that out 100% every shift

    I know from comments he’s made, Sutter loves Richards, drools over his leadership, high level of compete and the fact MR is half wolverine. Don’t be surprised if he puts the C on Richards (where frankly it should be; anybody who can’t see this guy has becom the heart and soul of the team (and a chief reason they are 1-5 without him) isn’t being objective enbough)
    I think this teams needs a transfusion of electrical activity and fire and mabye Sutter and Richards can do that.

    In order to go deep and contend for the Cup, you need top notch goaltending and a solid defnse corp. The Kings have that, if you can hold teams to 2 goal sor less, you have a shot. Their problem is offense. They have two very skilled, elite Centers, but I’d say lacking elite wingers. THats hould be DL’s next move, and if it takes making a trae by Feb, so be it. They could also use a forceful upgrade on the third line. Washington’s failing , maybe they need a change, could be they’d deal Knuble.

    • Deirdre, don’t let these illiterate coaches fool you into thinking of and using ‘compete’ as a noun. It’s a verb. You wouldn’t say ‘Richards has a lot of run’, would you? Then don’t say he has a lot of compete. He is competitive. He has a lot of competitiveness. He likes to compete. He is a good competitor. He has a lot of compete is what one says when one has brain damage or speaks english as a 2nd or 3rd language.

    • No disrespect to anyone of you, whole believe Darryl Sutter is right for this team, or this team not being ready to win, bullshit!

      Dean Lombardi shouted from Mt Everest, that this is the team he built, which is now ready to take that next step.

      This team is ready to win, if the right coach is behind the bench.

      All the pieces are in place, and maybe they do lack a left wing for either Kopitar or Richards, but they have enough talent to put their and also have a 3rd line which can score.

      I honestly believe, the only weakness other than scoring right now, is the defense. I call bullshit on the ranking in the NHL, it is solely due to goalie(s) who saves their ass.

      “If nothing else, from what I heard Ingala say about him this week when asked, he doesn’t take crap from any of his players. If you arena’t playing up to what he feels you need to be , you’re benched. (Ingala was benched). He said Sutter made him a better player. There is accontability for your actions, he demands that.”

      Iginla saying “Sutter made him a better player? I think that is a canned response.”

      Please take a look at this: Lombardi was relieved of his duties, GM of the Sharks along with head coach Darryl Sutter, late in the 2002–03 NHL season, a season in which many felt the Sharks would go deep in the playoffs, but struggled with a slow start and never recovered. This could be mainly attributed to the lengthy contract hold-out of star goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

      This is going on with the Kings right now, except the contract hold-out was with Doughty.

      The only difference between Murray and Sutter is: Murray talked about accountability and didn’t bench, while Sutter demands accountability and does bench.

      If Kopitar isn’t playing up to where he thinks he should be playing, Sutter will bench him.

      If Quick isn’t playing up to where he thinks he should be, Sutter will bench him.

      I guess if the whole team isn’t playing where he thinks they should be, then all of Manchester is called up, since the Kings would all be benched.

      If it walks like a Sutter, talks like a Sutter, looks like a Sutter, its a Sutter.

      Sutter’ teams he coached Chicago/SJ/CGY:

      1 made a Stanley Cup Final, but lost (CGY)
      2 lost in the 2nd round (SJ)
      7 lost in the 1st round
      2 seasons missed the playoffs (SJ/CGY)

      How many Stanley Cups has Calgary won since the days of Fleury, Niewendyk, MacDonald, Vernon, Gilmour, MacInnis, Suter, Roberts and the recently new coach of the Capitals Mark Hunter?

      The same as the Kings. ZERO.

      Watching the HBO 24/7 on the Rangers and the Flyers, clearly show 2 coaches who also demand accountability during practice and in games.

      Both Coaches Tortorella/Laviolette have won Stanley Cups. Both coaches have been TV analysts, and both coaches went from TV analyst to coaching positions after being analysts.

      These coaches (Tortorella.Laviolette) had the opportunity to watch many games, gaining insight into today’s NHL. These two coaches may still use the same system they won Stanley Cups with, but their systems are not from the 90′s they are designed to work in today’s NHL. Both also seem like they are more open to listening to the players for input.

      Darryl Sutter hopefully should be the end of the Lombardi era. Lombardi has used both as coaches, and both are proven losers.

      • What I got out of all of that was 10 playoff appearances and 2 non playoff appearances.

        How many Stanley Cups have the Rangers won with Torts?

        Sometimes you are a product of what you have. It’s like the coach from Nashville Barry Trotz. He is a great coach given the talent on his team. How often are they in the playoffs? Since 2003-2004, they’ve only missed once. And once again, that has been with a subpar team. Yet by your logic, he is no better than some average coach who happened to go to the Finals because he had a team with a lot more talent.

        Look, Sutter is not the offensive minded coach I wanted. But Sutter does bring some great things to the table. All this talk about the time being now is over. It is not now. Obviously it will take another, probably, 2 years (not this year, not next year) until we are legit contenders, barring anything crazy from happening (knowing the Kings, you never know). Do I think Sutter will be that coach bringing us to the Finals? No.

        But I do think he will be that coach who gives our young team the ass whopping they need. They play with little emotion this year, save for a few players. They look lost. They’ve even said it themselves. It’s as if Terry Murray felt the pressure and changed things up on them and being cryptic about it. As in the whole shot mentality issue. Yeah, shooting pucks on the net is great and all, but not when they are at the point with no guys in front deflecting and screening the goalie. Or some of the other things he had them try out. Murray was obviously lost when it came to offense.

        Sutter is obviously no offensive coach. But what he does bring is a belief in rushing the net, something the Kings never do. You better believe he will have Penner, etc. park his big ass in front of the net getting screens and deflections, or he will be on the bench for the rest of his time. He brings accountability, something the Kings lack. He will bring a spark to the Kings, something Murray was never able to instill. Dean Lombardi gets mad at the Kings players for not trying hard enough, yet Murray himself admitted he hardly motivates and they should be man enough to motivate themselves.

        Well what happens if they aren’t? Then they need someone to be on their ass! Crazy thought right?

        The time is not now. It has been pushed back again. But once Lombardi and Sutter are gone, I think the Kings will be in a better place and will finally be in position to turn heads.

        • Yes Torts won with Tampa Bay and Laviolette won with Carolina.
          Laviolette was the coach for the Flyers when they lost to Chicago.
          If you only got what I said, well that is your opinion.
          I don’t care about ass whopping, go ahead chew the team out like Lombardi did.
          Give them the Herb Brooks “Herbies”. Have the guy from the Natural come in and explain what is losing? Losing is a disease as contagious as polio.

          Please take a look at this:

          Lombardi was relieved of his duties,as GM of the Sharks along with head coach Darryl Sutter, late in the 2002–03 NHL season.
          A season in which many felt the Sharks would go deep in the playoffs, but struggled with a slow start and never recovered.
          This could be mainly attributed to the lengthy contract hold-out of star goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

          This is went on with the Kings, except the contract hold-out was with Doughty.

          It might just be me, but this looks very familiar, and the very same thing is about to happen with the rumor of now Sutter coming in.

          I guess The Hockey News article by Ken Campbell is just propaganda, or a bitter relationship between THN and Sutter or Lombardi

          http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/43529-Campbell-Darryl-Sutter-would-be-poor-choice-to-replace-Terry-Murray.html

          How about these guys: John Stevens, Craig McTavish Ted Nolan, Mike Keenan, Dallas Eakins?

          I just disagree that bringing in more former colleges is not the way to go.

          Lombardi is just to proud to go outside his comfort zone.

          • Well I agree with the gist of what you’re saying Neil. Sorry if I didn’t come off that way.

            I’m just stating that based off of how I feel about Dean at this point, he is too proud and stubborn to do what I think is right given the circumstances. So he just set the team back 2 years or so.

            Given that situation, Sutter is a good choice out of the remaining defensive minded coaches available. He will be tough on our players and I think they need a dictator over a facilitator (given that Lombardi will probably hire a D coach again).

            But don’t get me wrong, I think Lombardi is out soon if results don’t come quick and Sutter will probably follow depending on who the new GM is.

        • Some time ago I also mentioned that I felt another one to two years were needed.

          Lombardi lost at least a year chasing Kovalchuk coupled with an off season that didn’t feature the type or quality of player(s) needed, then mix in the Edmonton fiasco(s) and Doughty

  4. The game against the BJ showed me that the team is only kidding itself in being a cup contender this year. I think the reason why DD had such a killer year his 2nd year around is that there wasn’t a lot of pressure on the team to win. It’s sorta like when you get up to tee off and you’re up by 10 strokes it doesn’t matter if you slice the shit outta it.

    Now the team is faced with pressure that they’ve never really dealt with. Some of the older guys have but Brown, Kopi, JJ, DD and the other younger guys haven’t. Scuds, Pens, Williams have all won the cup and know what it takes to get there. I think we’re only kidding ourselves if we think this team is gonna be a cup contender this year. I think it’s gonna be at least two years out before the team can really get to that mental level.

    The core with the exception of Kopitar can really handle the pressure of a cup team. I’d throw JJ in there also.

  5. Scribe,

    I never meant to imply im defending Lombardi up until this point. Hes created a huge mess due to awful decision making, hasnt drafted any good snipers, all sorts of things. My point was, from NOW forward, whatever mess was made up until now, the first thing that needs to happen for them to get out of it is for Doughty to get whipped into shape, and whoever else. If Sutter can do that, then thats a big plus. Like I said it would be better if there wasnt a mess in the first place and you didnt have to pick between creativity and discipline or whatever, but the mess is here now.

  6. I wish there was a 24/7 show being done on the Kings so I can witness for myself if Sutter can use the word “Fuck” more times in a sentence then Bruce Boudreau.

    Dean just didn’t want Anahiem to be the only team in Cali with a complete psycho behind the bench.

  7. Neil,

    “Lombardi said this team is the one he built and is ready to win now.”

    Just because he believes that doesnt mean its true. GMs generally overvalue the teams they built precisely because they built it.

    “This team has the talent to win. Sure, maybe they dont have a top left wing, but–”

    Sorry Neil, either they have the left wing and the talent, or they dont have the talent. You cant say “they have the talent to win. Sure, they dont have a top line, but…”

    No, you’re underestimating top lines. Generally you cant have the talent to win the Cup and not have a top line. Youre brushing it off like its not important, when it is.

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