Question-and-answer session with Kings coach Darryl Sutter (part 4)

In the fourth and final installment of Kings coach Darryl Sutter’s postseason session with reporters, he talks about the media’s need for news versus the team’s need for secrecy when it comes to injuries to players, especially during the playoffs. And there’s quite a bit more as Sutter wrapped up his second season as the Kings’ coach.

Question: Fans want to know who’s playing. That’s a normal curiosity.

Answer: “Yeah, it is. If they get there on time, they know who’s playing. That’s what we did as a league, right? You have seven days. If somebody goes on IR, they’re hurt. They’re out seven days. Right? I don’t understand … It’s not supposed to happen.”

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Question-and-answer session with Kings coach Darryl Sutter (part 3)

Kings coach Darryl Sutter met with reporters for about 20 minutes two days after the team’s playoff ouster at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. The conversation touched on a variety of subjects, including what the Kings must improve on for next season. There also questions about the health of the team following a second consecutive lengthy playoff run. Sutter answered some questions, dodged others and acknowledged the job reporters have to do. Here’s the third part of a four-part installment.

Question: Talking about lowering the goal-against average for next season, would that be the major concern or would it be the left wing and the lack of production there?

Answer: “I said goals-against. I didn’t say production. We went from 30th to sixth in offense. We went to third in our conference. So, we’re not looking at it by position. We have multiple players who play multiple positions. If you’re listening, I did that once we know our roster then we would know better. Our goals-against, very simple, you don’t win. Teams I coach are always great defensively. We were a great defensive team again this year. But our goals-against … what you do home-and-road, there’s a disparity.”

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Question-and-answer session with Kings coach Darryl Sutter (part 2)

Here’s the second installment of Kings coach Darryl Sutter’s post-season meeting with reporters, two days after the team was eliminated from the Western Conference finals by the Chicago Blackhawks:

Question: It seems this was a tougher coaching job for you this year because you didn’t have the consistency of the lineup, you started out without Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene …

Answer: “I think if we go down the league, every coach will say that through a 48-game schedule. It’s something I’ve done before, so you have some familiarity with it. Whether it helps or not, I don’t know. But at least you’re familiar with it. Was it tougher? Sure, it was tougher, because … Our players were awesome. There was no hangover. There was only positives taken from it. Obviously, the only negative from a short summer last year was the guys didn’t start the year. Greene, Mitchell, (Anze) Kopitar and, quite honestly, Jonathan (Quick) until probably January or February.”

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Question-and-answer session with Kings coach Darryl Sutter (part 1)

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.”

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March 25: Kings 5, Blackhawks 4, United Center

Looking back before looking ahead to the Western Conference finals …

Dustin Brown scored the winning goal and Jonathan Quick made 21 saves in a game that proved the Kings could skate with the speedy Blackhawks after all. Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll, Dwight King and rookie Tyler Toffoli also scored for the Kings, who improved their record to 18-12-2. Kopitar’s goal was noteworthy because it was his last of the regular season. He did not score in the final 16 regular-season games and has only two goals in 13 playoff games, a fact that has raised eyebrows among plenty of press box observers.

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February 17: Blackhawks 3, Kings 2, United Center

Looking back before looking ahead to the Western Conference finals …

Patrick Sharp scored the winning goal for the Blackhawks and Ray Emery filled in for Corey Crawford in goal. The Blackhawks were rolling toward the NHL’s best start in history, and the Kings were mired in what sure looked like a Stanley Cup hangover. Coach Darryl Sutter continued to deny the fact, but the Kings were a pedestrian 5-6-2 to start their championship defense. Mike Richards scored their only goals on this night, both on power plays.

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January 19: Blackhawks 5, Kings 2, Staples Center

Looking back before looking ahead to the Western Conference finals …

The Blackhawks rained all over the Kings’ Stanley Cup banner-raising celebration by thumping them in the lockout-delayed season-opener. Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Michael Frolik and Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago during a relentless attack that resulted in a commanding 4-0 lead after only 21 minutes, 16 seconds had been played. The Blackhawks’ remarkable speed and skill with the puck was on full display and the Kings couldn’t keep pace.

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Kings are part of an NHL final four made up of only Stanley Cup champions

The Kings won the Stanley Cup last season.

The Boston Bruins won it in 2011.

The Chicago Blackhawks won it in 2010.

The Pittsburgh Penguins won it in 2009.

“It says something about the organizations,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “It doesn’t have to do with the league. It says more about the organizations, I think. It tells you something about the ability to sustain and how hard it is to win, quite honestly. It’s continually different teams, but you can stay in the top and be a playoff team.”

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Sharks coach Todd McLellan on Jonathan Quick: We didn’t test him

San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan had this to say about his team’s offensive effort against the Kings and goaltender Jonathan Quick during Game 5: “I didn’t think we tested him a lot tonight. There were a number of goalies in the league that could have performed that way tonight. Maybe his best save was his last one on (Joe) Pavelski coming across the crease when we had the goaltender pulled (in the final seconds). Other than that, he didn’t have to work hard. If you’re evaluating him, and that’s not my job, but he probably had better games and didn’t win.”

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Daryl Evans interview (part 2)

Here’s more from my interview with Kings radio analyst Daryl Evans, a former player who scored the winning goal in overtime in “The Miracle on Manchester” in the 1982 playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers. Evans looked back on the Kings’ late rally for a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 of their second-round series Thursday.

“The Kings had a lot of chances in the third period,” Evans said. “They got a lot of pucks to the net, but it wasn’t until that last part there that I think they led everybody to believe there was a chance they could tie things up. Getting the first penalty, the power play, I think at that point I felt there was a legitimate chance.

“The Kings’ power play already connected once in the game. They had some momentum going and I thought that would be an opportunity for them. I didn’t expect to see another penalty just shortly thereafter. Once they scored that first goal, it’s so important the shift after a goal, whether you’ve scored on or whether you’re the team that scores, the Kings took advantage of that moment. It’s definitely one of those ones.

“It happens so quick. When you scored that first one, everyone says, ‘Oh, it looks like we’re going to go to overtime.’ You blink your eyes and sit in your seat again and all of a sudden it’s, ‘Well, now we’ve got hang onto this one.’ It was a great comeback. Good to be on the right end of it. I’m sure there are some other ones. The thing you have to look upon is the way it sways a series.

“As an individual game, that’s one big impact. But take a look at this one. If San Jose hangs on and wins that game, it’s 1-1 now (in the series). All of a sudden, it’s a whole different series. It’s a three out five. But it was a little bit of reflection. Look back a couple of years ago when San Jose came back from four goals down at Staples Center and beat the Kings at that time.”

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