The Kings never trailed in a single playoff series while racing to their first Stanley Cup championship last spring. They went 16-4 and became the first eighth-seeded team to win the Cup in NHL history. It wasn’t all smiles and champagne, not with notoriously contrary coach Darryl Sutter behind the Kings bench.
When the Kings began their Cup defense by dropping two games to the St. Louis Blues, it marked the first serious adversity they faced with Sutter as their coach. The Kings rallied to win the next four and eliminated the Blues. They began their second-round playoff series Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center.
Kings captain Dustin Brown said at the morning skate he sees no difference between the Sutter of last spring and this spring. He’s still not easy to please.
“We were up 3-0 in every series, he was hard on us until the season was over,” Brown recalled of Sutter’s demeanor last year. “There’s a lot more to clear up in our game this year, I think. We’re going through a little bit more adversity than we were last year. I don’t think he’s changed. I think the situation has changed.
“We went 16-4, so it’s kind of hard … I mean, the games we did lose, they were right there for us. This year is a whole different year. We all understand that. I think he understands that. It’s a whole different situation. I don’t think anybody’s really changed, it’s just a different scenario.”
When it was suggested that Sutter likes to keep other people off balance, Brown smiled.
“I think that’s his goal in life,” Brown said.