The Kings and Darryl Sutter have agreed on a new contract. A team spokesman said a formal announcement would be made Friday. Terms were not immediately available. Sutter’s three-year contract was due to expire July 1 and Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said last week there was a “very fair” offer on the table. The Los Angeles Times first reported the agreement Thursday afternoon.
Sutter is 186-112-45 in four-plus seasons with the Kings. He led the team to Stanley Cup championships in 2014 and ’12. The San Jose Sharks eliminated them in the first round of the playoffs this season, and there’s been plenty of speculation in recent days and weeks that the Kings’ roster could undergo a major shakeup for 2016-17. The head coach will remains the same, however.
“Failure is the best teacher,” Lombardi said last week. “So it’s very simple for every part of this organization right now … We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and admit that these two things happened, and now we have to get back on that path – the innovation, the spark, the challenge that was there seven years ago and we were coming from the gutter. You’ve got to get it back.”
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said Friday he made a “very fair” offer to Darryl Sutter to return as the team’s coach for next season and beyond, but no agreement has been reached. Lombardi said money is not the issue, but the direction of the team is.
“Darryl has an offer on the table,” Lombardi said during a conference call. “I think there’s an offer that’s certainly respectable. I don’t think this is about money. It’s, are we ready to do this? That issue of where we’re going and where we are is always out there. It’s a different challenge. You want to hear what our game plan is. It’s not different than when I first hired him.”
Key play: Patrick Marleau scored the last of the Sharks’ three power-play goals and San Jose held on for a 3-2 victory Wednesday in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Kings at the SAP Center. Marleau backhanded a rebound into the net at 1:40 of the final period.
The series: The Sharks lead 3-1. Game 5 is Friday at Staples Center.
Pivotal performer: San Jose defenseman Brent Burns scored the Sharks’ first power-play goal, whistling a one-timed shot from the left faceoff circle past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. Burns also assists on Marleau’s goal, which turned out to be the game-winner.
Quote, unquote: “Our penalty-kill wasn’t near good enough,” said Kings defenseman Luke Schenn, who was on the ice for Burns’ goal “Special teams made a huge difference. Our special teams need to improve if we’re going to climb back in it.”
Status quo: Kings coach Darryl Sutter and San Jose counterpart Peter DeBoer stayed with the same lineups for Game 4 that they used in Game 3. DeBoer indicated dissatisfaction with his fourth line after Game 3, but stuck with Nick Spaling, Chris Tierney and Tommy Wingels for Game 4.
Right wing Marian Gaborik was back in the Kings’ lineup Saturday for Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. Defenseman Alec Martinez was out of the lineup after an abbreviated return to it Thursday for Game 1.
Or so it seemed.
Gaborik skated on a line with center Anze Kopitar and left wing Milan Lucic during the Kings’ morning stake at Staples Center. Kings coach Darryl Sutter later said Gaborik’s first game since spraining his right knee Feb. 12 against the New York Rangers would be a coach’s decision at game time.
“He’ll go through warmup and he’ll declare himself,” Sutter said of Gaborik, who had 12 goals and 22 points in 54 games when he was injured in the game at Madison Square Garden. “He’s been medically cleared, so it becomes a coach’s decision.”
Gaborik was not immediately available for comment.
Martinez, who has an unspecified injury, didn’t skate with his teammates and there was no locker stall set up for him inside the Kings’ dressing room. It appeared Jamie McBain would take his place and make his playoff debut after playing 345 regular-season games in the NHL.
“It’s still the same game,” McBain said, who yielded to Martinez for Game 1 after filling in for him for the final four games of the regular season. “There might be a little bit more physicality, but at the end of the day, it’s still the same game.”
Here’s some of what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said when asked Tuesday about the availability of injured right wing Marian Gaborik for the Game 1 against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday: “Unavailable.”
When a reporter wondered if that meant unavailable for just Game 1 or the whole series or what, Sutter said, “I’m not God. I’m not a doctor.”
Sutter went on to say, “You’re not getting any information from us. Basically, what happens with the media, and I put up with it all season, but I’m not doing it in playoffs. I have no desire to give you any information on the stitches anybody got or what’s wrong with them or ‘how long he’s going to be’ or his wife’s in labor.
The Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association has nominated Kings center Vincent Lecavalier for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given to the “player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
From our chapter’s news release:
Lecavalier, in the twilight of an outstanding career, had become a mere afterthought while with the Philadelphia Flyers. More often than not he was a healthy scratch, playing in only seven games to start this season and recording one assist. it seemed a sad way for a gallant player to go out.
Lecavalier, 35, is rewriting that ending in Los Angeles. Given a chance and regular ice time after being traded to the Kings in January, Lecavalier has become a valued locker-room leader for a team that figures to contend for the Stanley Cup. He has helped with his faceoff skills and his experience, setting a good example for younger players to follow. The classy center has eight goals, 15 points and a plus-4 defensive rating in his first 35 games with the Kings, but his contributions go beyond that. For his career, he has 419 goals and 947 points in 1,205 games.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter is a fan of Lecavalier and what he has done since the trade. “Two months ago, three months ago, they said he was done,” Sutter said a few days ago. “They just didn’t finish the sentence. He’s done well.”
King coach Darryl Sutter. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said about center Vincent Lecavalier, who has eight goals and 15 points in 35 games since he was acquired Jan. 6 from the Philadelphia Flyers: “Two months ago, three months ago, they said he was done. They just didn’t finish the sentence. He’s done well.”
Lecavalier had one point, an assist, in seven games with Philadelphia.
Here’s what Darryl Sutter said after the Kings clinched a playoff berth with a 2-1 victory Saturday over the Boston Bruins: “To do it with several games left in the season, there are not many teams that do that, so I am thankful for that.”