We got this from Hammond:

As noted in an earlier post, Darryl Sutter spent about 15-20 minutes, toward the end of practice today, by himself with the first power-play unit at one end of the ice. There seemed to be more talking than actual drills going on, and afterward, a couple players indicated that it was more about reinforcement than about reinventing the wheel, so to speak. Sutter has been more hands-on with all of the special-teams work, and it’s not surprising that he would dip his toe into the power play, given that it has scored only two goals in its last 42 opportunities. Still, Sutter basically shrugged and deflected, after practice, when asked about his direct work with the power-play unit.

SUTTER: “With the young guys, they’ve got some different skill sets and different ideas, so we’ll just kind of give them a little more freedom but, at the same time, make sure we understand the importance of us. It was weird. Yesterday we talked about how we hadn’t had a 5-on-3 since I’ve been here, and how we were going to get one. I knew it was going to be that type of game. Then we didn’t score. Then we did an awesome job against, when they had the 5-on-3 too.”

I read the bolded part twice. Who are the younger guys? What is young? Are we talking Drew, Jack, Kopi young? I read the bolded part as the “younger” players providing input to Sutter and wanting “more freedom”, which implies they believe they do not have enough freedom and, implicitly, said lack of freedom is directly related to resident freedom hating assistant coach Jamie Kompon. The second bolded part of that sentence is Sutter’s explanation of “yeah, we will give them more freedom but it’s still team first.” That is how I read it.

All of this is encouraging. The players feel comfortable telling Darryl Sutter that the current powerplay places limitations on them (and it sure as hell shows) and they want more freedom with (and without) the puck – you may have already guessed that freedom means puck possession time and/or reading the play versus the robotic mentality that pervaded Terry Murray’s offense and still exists with that of Jamie Kompon’s powerplay.

Moving on…

Sutter also indicated that he desires more of a collaborative effort with assistant coaches John Stevens and Jamie Kompon — and goalie coach Bill Ranford, who is in Los Angeles part-time — and Sutter chuckled when asked if he would got the rest of the season with the coaching staff intact.

SUTTER: “Yeah. Absolutely. I put a lot of stock into that. That’s the most important part about closing the gap, is familiarity with the players. I don’t believe it’s coach and assistant coaches. I believe it’s all of us working together. We can all handle different parts. When we talked about the power play, it’s not like it’s me on the power play. A big part of it is the players. I’ve got no issues with staff.”

Desire implies what he seeks. That’s good. A head coach should have a collaboration with the assistant coaches. I wonder if Terry Murray was very hands off in that regard?

Regarding the second bolded part, proof reading is your friend, Rich. You probably read that as Rich intending to write if he would “go” (not “got”) the rest of the season with the coaching staff intact. In other words, you read it as asking whether the assistant coaches would be retained or not.

I didn’t.

First, what an oddball of a question. He would go with the coaching staff? Go where? To lunch? A strip club? Does Rich mean (as many people have no doubt taken it) whether he has any intention of recommending changes to the coaching staff (i.e, replacing Jamie Kompon)? If so, why the coy and relatively obtuse question? Why not just ask that? Unfortunately, the bad question creates a vague answer but there is hope.

If Rich intended the question as posed above, then the answer doesn’t make sense. Sutter’s answer reads like a response to the question, “do you intend to keep this collaboration throughout the season?” Read the answer again to that question:

Yeah. Absolutely. I put a lot of stock into that. That’s the most important part about closing the gap, is familiarity with the players. I don’t believe it’s coach and assistant coaches. I believe it’s all of us working together. We can all handle different parts. When we talked about the power play, it’s not like it’s me on the power play. A big part of it is the players. I’ve got no issues with staff.

See how it all makes sense? But the poorly worded question sounds like Rich asked Sutter whether Kompon and  Stevens were going to be retained or fired and that is not what Sutter answered even if that is what Rich intended to ask…as a side note, if Rich didn’t ask that question, who did? And why was it printed as such in such a vague manner? Poor writing drives me crazy for exactly this reason.

UPDATE: The Mayor clarifies it in an article today. From him:

So, after practice today, I asked Sutter if he could elaborate on that statement or help clarify if the current coaching staff will be here for the remainder of the season.

“Yeah, absolutely,” said the new Kings coach. “I put a lot of stock into that. That’s the most important part about closing the gap, is familiarity with the players. I don’t believe it’s coach and assistant coaches. I believe it’s sort of all of us working together. We can all handle different parts. When we talked about the power play, it’s not like it’s me on the power play. A big part of it is the players. I’ve got no issues with staff.”

Murray had gone back and forth on the roles of the coaches. At times Kompon was in charge of the power play, at other times that was his something he took charge of. How do you distribute roles and responsibilities?

“We’re all together on it. We can divvy stuff out, but at the end of the day, you have to all be together. What you see on the ice, you’re doing it together. When you close the doors, you’re not breaking out that much.”

There you have it. Another topic that can be checked off the list.

That means The Mayor asked a good and direct question, Darryl Sutter gave an answer that, bluntly, makes little sense to me and Hammond stepped on his you know what when interpreting the question and writing it. Good times.

Your turn. Discuss.