Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said Sunday things got so bad for the inconsistent team this season that after a victory Feb. 7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the players barricaded themselves behind locked doors and garbage cans and held a players-only meeting.
The cans were stacked in front of the dressing room and meant to be a signal to Kings coach Darryl Sutter to stay out. The Kings then snapped from a midseason funk to win eight consecutive games before faltering down the stretch and missing the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Lombardi said during an hour-long session with reporters at the team’s El Segundo practice facility that he didn’t have a problem with the meeting in general, but took mild offense to the extreme measures the players took in locking out Sutter.
“I guess it’s fair to say there was a little scuffle in Tampa,” Lombardi said when asked about a report in the New York Post that suggested the incident happened during a winless trip to play the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary, Flames, which knocked them out of the playoffs.
Lombardi corrected several elements of the Post’s story, including the date and location of the incident.
“I could look at it and say, ‘That’s when we won eight in a row, so let’s do this more often,’” Lombardi said when asked if he was troubled by the incident. “In terms of what actually happened, maybe they don’t have to go to that extreme, but theoretically I don’t have a problem with it.”
Neither Sutter nor the Kings players were available for immediate comment.
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said when someone asked if he felt compassion for Edmonton Oilers goalie Tyler Bunz, who gave up three goals on 12 shots in the third period in his NHL debut Thursday at Staples Center:
“Yeah, damn right. He hasn’t played much in the American (Hockey) League either and that’s not an easy situation to go into. He’s a pro. He’ll learn from it and he’ll be better for it. He’s a good western Canadian.”
Bunz hails from St. Albert, Alberta. Sutter is from Viking, Alberta.
The Kings on Sunday recalled center Mike Richards from their American Hockey League team in Manchester, N.H., in an attempt to bolster their roster for the final 11 regular-season games. The Kings (34-23-14) practiced the day before starting a five-game trip in Newark, N.J., and Richards joined his teammates for the workout.
He is expected to play Monday against the Devils (31-30-11), two months after he cleared waivers and was assigned to the minors after recording five goals and 15 points in 47 games with the Kings. He had 14 points in 16 games for Manchester. The Kings desperately need depth at center, with Jarret Stoll sidelined by a concussion and Nick Shore failing to record a goal in 25 games and Andy Andreoff scoring only once in 17 contests. Stoll had only six goals in 67 games before he was hurt March 12 He hasn’t scored a goal since Feb. 14 against the Capitals.
“You’ve got to produce,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said of his centers after Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, the team’s third defeat in four games. “At the end of the day, the guys (Shore and Andreoff) have played 20-some games and we’re into the stretch part and they have one or no goals. We’re having trouble scoring. The guys have to produce. That’s just being honest.”
The Kings have scored only six goals in their last four games.
Looks like Tuesday was a rough night in Denver for the retired gentleman, as Kings coach Darryl Sutter once called the folks who keep track of the statistics for the NHL at the league’s games, There were a couple of significant scoring chances in the Kings’ 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.
The Kings’ first goal now reads: Marian Gaborik from Brayden McNabb and Justin Williams at 7:47 of the first period. So, take away an assist to Dustin Brown and add one for Williams, who ended up with three for the game.
The Kings’ third goal now reads: Kyle Clifford from Justin Williams and Andrej Sekera at 14:25 of the first period. So, take away a goal for McNabb and add an assist for Sekera, his first point since the Kings acquired him last month.
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said after a reporter asked Thursday if he looked at the NHL standings: “If you’re a Canadian, everybody’s looking at the standings. I’m a Canadian, so I’m looking at them.”
A reporter asked Kings coach Darryl Sutter if every game from now until the end of the regular season is must-win. Here’s how Sutter responded after the Kings’ 4-3 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday at Staples Center:
“There’s no must anywhere. You don’t have to do anything. You try and win. There is no such thing as a must-win. Nobody gets locked up or thrown in the ocean or anything like that. Other than that, it’s just a game.”
KINGS AT OILERS
Faceoff: 6:30 p.m. TV/Radio: FSW, 790-AM
Kings general manger Dean Lombardi didn’t make a deal at the NHL’s trade deadline Monday, so the roster will remain intact for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, if they make the playoffs. The Kings have lost three consecutive games, including a lackluster 5-2 defeat Sunday to the Winnipeg Jets, and fell from a playoff spot after winning eight consecutive games and returning to the postseason field. The Kings are 29-21-12 overall, but only 9-14-6 away from Staples Center. Only the Buffalo Sabres (seven), Toronto Maple Leafs (seven), Edmonton Oilers (eight) have fewer road wins than the Kings, which explains their predicament. Coach Darryl Sutter hasn’t been pleased with the play of his veterans during the Kings’ three-game losing streak, but he hasn’t named names. The Oilers are 18-35-10, and last in the Pacific Division and in the Western Conference.
Here’s Darryl Sutter summing up the Kings’ losing streak, which was extended to three games with a 5-2 loss Sunday afternoon to the Winnipeg Jets: “The Ottawa game we got a goal taken away from us (on a quick whistle during a goal-mouth scramble in a 1-0 loss). Then I said after that game some of older guys didn’t play very, and I think in Anaheim some of them didn’t play very well and some tonight did not play very well. So it’s not that it’s not a team thing.”
Actually, he said it a couple of different times to a couple of different questions after the Kings’ 4-2 loss to the Ducks on Friday at the Honda Center, but this was his response to the difference in the contest: “I think their forecheck overwhelmed us the whole night and it just caught up with us.”
Darryl Sutter. (Photo/Dustin Snipes in Los Angeles Magazine)
Here’s some of what Kings coach Darryl Sutter had to say about a 1-0 loss Thursday to the Ottawa Senators that ended their eight-game winning streak:
“Nah, I thought our defense was really slow moving pucks in the first period and in the second we passed the puck to them. It probably should have been 2-1 for them after the second and then in the third we just couldn’t get the goal.”
Sutter than interrupted a reporter’s question to say, “Jeff Carer’s line was really good, but I think that after that it was pretty much zero.”
Asked if the Kings were looking ahead to Friday’s game against the Ducks, Sutter said, “No. I would be concerned that some of our older players didn’t play very well tonight and won’t tomorrow.”
Won’t play tomorrow?
“Older players didn’t play very well tonight and won’t tomorrow night, that would be my concern,” Sutter said. “Why would they be looking ahead to tomorrow night? You get two points for every game.”