Kings coach Darryl Sutter went with the status quo for Game 2 after saying one day earlier that defenseman Robyn Regehr “probably” would play for the first time since suffering a knee injury in Game 1 of the second round series against the Ducks.
Sutter stayed with Matt Greene on Saturday, keeping Regehr out of the lineup for the 15th consecutive game. Sutter said it was a difficult to put Regehr back into such high-level competition after a layoff that reached five weeks Saturday.
“Darn right it’s a consideration when you think about it,” Sutter said Sunday.
— Tom Hoffarth (@tomhoffarth) June 7, 2014
Because what else are you going to do the day before Game 2? Excellence takes a certain balance.
Kings center Anze Kopitar and winger Dustin Brown each said Friday he was unhappy with his play during a 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday. That was news to Kings coach Darryl Sutter, who had this to say when asked about Kopitar’s comment:
“I think ‘Kopi’ busts his ass every night, for lack of a better word. Somebody brought it up yesterday and it wasn’t ‘Kopi.’ “Kopi’ played more minutes, big minutes, than anybody on our team. In crucial situations he does it, so … He never has a bad game.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter fields questions almost daily about Drew Doughty’s remarkable progress. Someone asked Thursday whether Sutter believes he looks at the 24-year-old defenseman in a different way because he’s built some credibility with the coach.
“Plays a little more probably, for sure,” Sutter said. “Didn’t kill penalties. Now he kills penalties. Plays against top players a lot. He’s a young player. I think when you do all the analytics on athletes, he’s a long ways form being as good as he’s going to be just because of his age.”
Indeed, there’s still room for growth and improvement.
“Learn to manage your ice time better, learning to manage what’s going on, on the ice,” Sutter said when asked what Doughty could do better in the coming seasons. “You become a better shot selection guy. You become a better penalty killer.
“You learn the league better. You learn players on the other teams better. Nuances of start players. You learn how to handle your practice habits, nutrition, what you do on game days. All that stuff. What can he do better? As I said, there’s a big difference between being 25 and 35.”
Darryl Sutter did his best job of coaching this season, according to general manager Dean Lombardi and that includes several years trying to wring more from the San Jose Sharks in the 1990s, plus the Kings’ title run in 2012. New York’s Alain Vigneault left Vancouver after last season and got a fresh start with the Rangers, leading them to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since they won it all in 1994. He split two first-round playoff series with the Kings while with the Canucks.
Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr joined his teammates late in their morning skate Wednesday at the United Center in Chicago. He’s appears closer to a return to the lineup after suffering an unspecified knee injury in Game 1 of the Kings’ second-round playoff series against the Ducks. Then again, maybe he’s not, if you listen to Kings coach Darryl Sutter. Here’s what Sutter said when asked for an update:
“I couldn’t answer that. I’m not a doctor.”
The flight from LAX to Chicago was no big deal for the Kings. It was the usual four-plus hours from the West Coast to the Midwest. They didn’t have much time after eliminating the Ducks in Game 7 on Friday before they departed for Chicago and Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Sunday. So, finding enough hotel rooms was an issue for the second consecutive conference finals, though.
Like last year, the team had to change hotels because of a number of conventions filled up hotels in the downtown area. Actually, last year there was only one, but it was a big one and had Kings coach Darryl Sutter feeling nostalgic as he watched convention goers dressed as their favorite Star Trek characters.
“That was in my age group,” Sutter said Tuesday. “A lot of our players didn’t know who all those guys walking around in the blue-and-gold tights were. That’s what happens in the playoffs. You don’t know your schedule, especially with the city being so busy and conventions going on. We talked abut it before we got here. We knew we were changing hotels.”
Here’s what Darryl Sutter had to say when asked Monday if the Kings’ lacked the same emotion in Game 1 of their series against the Chicago Blackhawks that they showed in victories over the Sharks and Ducks in the first two rounds:
“Yesterday? I thought we played a hell of a game. … There was one scrum. The one scrum there was, if we were moaning about calls today, the one scrum there was that we got called on, too bad they couldn’t review it.”
Sutter referred to the cluster in front of the net of Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, which led to Alec Martinez’s shove of the Blackhawks’ Brandon Bollig, which resulted in a roughing penalty and then a power-play goal for Brandon Saad.
Later, Sutter was asked to clarify whether he believed Bollig took a dive.
“No,” Sutter said.
The Kings’ ability to stop the Ducks in their tracks over the final two periods of Game 3 was still a topic of much discussion leading up to Game 4. Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said of holding the Ducks to zero shots on goal in the second period Saturday and then three in the third of a 2-0 loss: “We weren’t trying to shut them down. We were trying to come back. Obviously, they were thinking more that way than we would be.”
The Kings lack of scoring in the final 40 minutes had more to do with the Ducks’ ability to keep them to the perimeter than anything Sutter’s team did or didn’t do in the final two periods. Here’s what Sutter said about fighting through the pressure: “How well they were able to keep you to the outside, that’s what jumps out at you. That’s not just forwards, that’s defensemen, too. They have to get through that, the blocking, the interference and the clogging up in front of the net.”
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter had to say about the team’s rally from a three-games-to-none deficit to beat the San Jose Sharks in their first-round playoff series (spoiler alert, he’s not all that impressed);
“Well, I hope I don’t have to do it again. It’s hard. It’s tough to do. Everybody talked about how we got our asses kicked in Games 1 and 2. We thought we played pretty good in Game 2. Game 3 was an overtime game, which we could have won. We thought Game 6 could have been a clinching game for us. Games 3, 4, 5 and 6.”
Wait, there’s more.
“The history part doesn’t mean … that’s no big deal to me at all. We were trying to win a series against a team that home ice and was ahead of us all year in the standings. And we finally caught them.”