The Kings haven’t been outshot in a game since Nov. 29, when the Chicago Blackhawks did it to them 25-20 during a 4-1 victory at Staples Center. They were tied in shots on net 25-25 during a 5-2 loss Dec. 16 to the St. Louis Blues. But otherwise they have outshot everyone since that game against the Blackhawks. Monday, they outshot the Toronto Maple Leafs 20-19 in a 2-0 victory.
“It still doesn’t add up for us because if you’re just going on analytics we’re right at the top,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “We should have more (wins). It doesn’t really add up. We’re going to have to get better at it because with the goals out of our lineup (Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, in particular), and a bit of inexperience at our back end, we still have to find a way to get better.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter was asked Monday morning how the team would fill the void created by the absence of young wingers Tyler Toffoli (mono) and Tanner Pearson (broken left ankle). He had a simple answer: “You don’t.”
Sutter also said: “They’re very important players on our team, not just numbers guys but a very big part of our puck possession game, our penalty-killing game, all that. You don’t replace those players. What you do is you put other guys in, guys who are either bitching about ice time or guys who you have to move out of position a little big or veterans who just have to give you a little bit more.”
Toffoli was diagnosed with mono Friday and Pearson was hurt Saturday.
The Kings will be well-represented at the Jan. 25 All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio. Joining coach Darryl Sutter and his staff will be defenseman Drew Doughty, center Anze Kopitar and winger Tanner Pearson.
Doughty made the team for the first time in his seven-year career, a mind-boggling fact given his remarkable play the last few seasons. But there was no game last season because of the Sochi Olympics and it was not played in 2012-13 because of the lockout.
Kopitar was selected despite some subpar statistics in the first half of the season. He was the Kings’ leader with 29 goals and 70 points last season, but had only eight goals and 30 points in the first 41 games of 2014-15.
Pearson was selected as one of six rookies to make the teams. He had 12 goals, tied with Marian Gaborik and Tyler Toffoli for the team lead, plus four assists going into the Kings’ game Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets.
Darryl Sutter. (Photo/Dustin Snipes in Los Angeles Magazine)
As expected, Kings coach Darryl Sutter was named Friday as one of the coaches for the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 25 in Columbus, Ohio. Peter Laviolette of the league-leading Nashville Predators was selected as the other coach. Sutter said he would only agree if his son, Chris, was allowed to come, too. Sutter added, “He’s running the show.” Chris, who suffers from a form of Down Syndrome, is a fan favorite at Staples Center. He also is unabashed Kings fan.
“I wasn’t going unless he could be a part of it because it’s important,” Sutter said. “He’ll enjoy it. He knows lots of guys, too, so he’ll enjoy that. I know he’ll be really biased, though, towards the Kings.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter called out Jake Muzzin after Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers, saying after the defenseman played a season-low 17 minutes, 26 seconds, including a scant 3:31 in the third period, “He refused to check. You don’t get played for what you did last year or last week or somewhere else. It’s how you’re playing tonight.”
Muzzin didn’t wish to address Sutter’s concerns after Friday’s practice, but he did say, “They had some speed out wide, but I thought we did a good job of keeping them outside. We need to do a better job of taking the body on the rush. We’re giving up too many Grade A scoring chances. Too many shots from the middle of the ice. We’ve got to get early position on them. We can’t let them get there. That starts from winning a puck in the corner and beating them back to the front of the net and getting position on guys coming from the corner to the front of the net.”
Speed kills. The New York Rangers proved it Thursday during a 4-3 victory over the Kings at Staples Center in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final. The Rangers skated around the flat-footed Kings again and again, especially during a three-goal second period. Here’s more on the subject from Kings coach Darryl Sutter:
“We had trouble keeping up with a fast team. There’s two ways of neutralizing speed: be fast yourself or slow them down. Even on the (Jeff) Carter line, we couldn’t handle it.
“You can’t take penalties. You need to be able to skate with them. You need to have the speed in your lineup to do it. You have to be able to check and some top players tonight were not in the checking mood.
“You can’t give up four goals and expect to win. Ever.”
Here’s the lowdown from the Columbus Dispatch:
“On Monday, the league will announce coaches for the game, although it may be determined before the league’s release.
“Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter and his staff — assistants John Stevens and Davis Payne — will coach one of the teams, a reward for winning the Stanley Cup last spring. The other staff will be determined by the highest points percentage through Saturday’s games.
“As of this morning, that would be Nashville’s Peter Laviolette, with Phil Housley and Kevin McCarthy the assistants. The Predators have 56 points in 39 games, or 1.435 points per game. Anaheim has the most points in the league — 58 thru 41 games — but trails slightly (1.415) in points per game.”
Darryl Sutter. (Photo/Dustin Snipes in Los Angeles Magazine)
This long-ish story on relentlessly quirky Kings coach Darryl Sutter didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, but you might like it. Here’s the link: http://www.lamag.com/longform/ice-age-coach-darryl-sutter/
Here’s Kings coach Darryl Sutter’s assessment of the team’s inconsistent play:
“I think that’s what everybody’s said. That’s been a frequently-used word this year, but if you look at the last little bit … our issue would be goals-against, no question. We’re scoring right around three and we’re giving up right around three the last 10 games. That’s not going to get you very far in this league.
“That’s fun to talk about. If you score three, that’s great. But a lot of times it’s still that number, giving up three. If you look at it just since the first of the month, if you’re an analytic guy, we’ve dominated games, quite honest. We’ve dominated games … not just puck possession, which is what you guys use. That’s what anybody goes back to because they don’t understand the game.
“So, it’s probably the bad goal or the odd-man rush or the turnover.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)
Kings coach Darryl Sutter is often way more talkative after a loss than a victory. That was the case again after a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, when the Kings played the sort of no-frills but well-executed game that should have brought joy to the heart of any of the 30 coaches in the NHL. Any, of course, but not all of them apparently. Here’s Sutter talking, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, about the Kings’ tight-checking defensive game that enabled them to win:
“Well, you’ve got to give the Kings some credit once in a while. I know we’re way behind everybody, but you’ve got to give them some credit, don’t you?”