December 17, 2011
Clearly, today is a day for hardly shocking inevitabilities. The Montreal Canadiens fired Jacques Martin. The Phoenix Coyotes traded Kyle Turris. And now, the Los Angeles Kings have stunned absolutely no one by hiring Darryl Sutter, as had been rumoured all week.
According to Helene Elliott, it's a done deal:
Sutter signed a contract a few days ago but needed to wrap up some family matters and receive the proper immigration clearance. That's expected to come through on Monday, and he will be introduced at a news conference on Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Sutter signed a multi-year deal, though the exact duration is not known.
There's been some outcry over this decision, what with how Sutter's last heyday came coaching a clutchy, grabby team pre-lockout, but I'm with Lambert on this one. He isn't a terrible choice.
Sure, Sutter was an unexpected top candidate, but it's not like he didn't have success in Calgary after the league resumed operations in 2005. The Flames got better. Frankly, where they really suffered was when Sutter stepped away from coaching to focus solely on GM duties after the 2005-06 season.
Furthermore, his general "hardassery" may truly be exactly what the Kings need. On Flyers-Rangers 24/7, when Wayne Simmonds said Philadelphia was "a way better hockey town", I interpreted this as more than just a way of saying the fanbase was more supportive of the team: it also seemed to be a way of saying that it's a little harder to focus on hockey in Los Angeles.
And of course it is. Laura Linney lives there. Laura Linney, you guys.
The Los Angeles Kings have a good team, but they need to become a good, hard-working team, and Darryl Sutter should be able to do that for them. If you're not focusing on hockey in Darryl Sutter's locker room, you will not survive. I'm sure he's in his new office right now, weaving pieces of glass into his whip.
But this is good fit for Sutter too. The reactions to his rumoured candidacy this week were an indication that he's lost a great deal of respect, post-lockout. Now he gets to resurrect his career by coaching a team that, considering their talent, should be far better than they've been.
This isn't like joining the Carolina Hurricanes or the Montreal Canadiens, teams that aren't much better than the records to which their now-fired coaches brought them. The Kings should be good, and Sutter should have success in Los Angeles.