Darryl Sutter met with reporters two days after the Kings were eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals. Here’s the first part of a multi-part quesiton-and-answer session held at the Kings’ El Segundo training facility:
Question: Have you had a chance to decompress and what are your thoughts on how the season went?
Answer: “Not really decompress, but we thought we had a really good season. It would have been harder not making the playoffs. As I told the players (the day after losing in the conference finals), we played 18 games in the playoffs this year. There’s 28 other teams that would have liked to have played 18 games. Once you’ve set that bar … As I’ve said all along, this has no bearing on anything other than you know you’re a really good hockey club and you know how close the league is. … We’ll all got to look at the team we just played and the team they’re playing to see how close the league is.”
Q: What does this team need to do? Where are the gaps between where this team is and where the Blackhawks are? Or where the Bruins are?
A: “I think we went through similar … where they are now? I think we’re a similar team to Boston. They won the Stanley Cup and everybody thinks they’re the same team. They’re not the same team. They have a different goalie. … It would be nice for everybody to generalize and say that. I think Chicago is a different team than ours for the most part. We’re one of the youngest teams. We were the two youngest teams that made the playoffs if you do it from personnel, guys who actually played. That would be the similarity. They scored a few more goals this year than we did. … We had a really good year, quite honest. Our goal-scoring went from last to third in conference. That’s why you can’t ask that question of the coaches or the players. Everything changes. Why didn’t Chicago win?
Q: What’s missing here?
A: “What’s missing? I don’t think anything’s missing. We did win this year. You don’t think we won? You don’t think Anaheim won this year? You go from 30 to 16 to eight to four to two to win, and you can’t win the Stanley Cup every year. I don’t like going on about this, but there are some awful spoiled people in the media and some awful spoiled people in this organization. They’ve played more playoff games in the last year, the last year, than any other team in hockey. I have no problem with anything other than we’re a really young team and we can get better from an individual standpoint. You learn that. With the way it sets up, if there’s a schedule in the playoffs, you have to be able keep your roster or lineup in a way that’s consistent. If looked at the difference between Chicago and Los Angeles, you’d say that Chicago was a healthy team going into this last round.”