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.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Monday that defenseman Robyn Regehr would need surgery to mend a non-specific arm injury suffered during an unknown point during the playoffs. Sutter at first said he wouldn’t talk about specific injuries to players, but then announced Regehr’s in a rather offhanded manner. Unlike several others, Regehr’s injury came as something of a surprise since there was nothing in his play during the postseason to indicate he was at anything less than his very best.
Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr didn’t hesitate when asked Thursday to compare current partner Drew Doughty with anyone he’s played with in the past. Regehr praised Doughty’s all-around game by comparing him to Scott Niedermayer, the now retired former Duck and New Jersey Devil.
True, general manager Dean Lombardi was looking for a short-term addition to the Kings’ defense corps when he acquired veteran Robyn Regehr from the Buffalo Sabres on April 1. But there was far more to the deal than that. Lombardi also viewed Regehr as more than just a rental player for the rest of the 2012-13 season.
The Kings killed off all of a two-man disadvantage, but Joe Thornton pass the puck to Patrick Marleau near the right goal post and Marleau shifted it to Logan Couture in the slot for the winning goal while the Sharks skated 5-on-4. San Jose’s victory trimmed the Kings’ deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-7 series. The Kings are scheduled to return to El Segundo for a little rest, recovery and preparation for the next two days. Game 4 is in San Jose on Tuesday. The Kings must avoid the penalty box, as they did in the closing moments of the third period. Robyn Regehr was penalized for hooking and Trevor Lewis followed him to the penalty box for running into goaltender Antti Niemi. It wasn’t a disciplined finished.
Robyn Regehr suffered a second broken nose in the playoffs when a wayward stick conked him on the bridge of his beak in Game 5 The Kings’ veteran defenseman shrugged off his latest injury. After all, he’s lost track of how many times it’s been broken.
“Just putting my nose in all the wrong spots, I guess,” he said when asked the Kings’ morning skate Friday about his nose and the physical play in the series. “No, it just feels the same as before. A little more hook to it, that’s all. … It’s been great playoff hockey. It’s been physical. It’s tight checking. Very tight games. All the games have been one goal. A couple of overtime games. That’s what playoff hockey is all about.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter had this to say about defenseman Robyn Regehr playing despite a broken nose: “He got hit in the nose again. It’s broke, so he can’t re-broke it.”
The Kings have scored only three goals during their first-round playoffs series against St. Louis, and the Blues have scored four. The Kings trail the best-of-7 series 2-1 going into Game 4 on Monday night at Staples Center. “There’s all kinds of things that happen within the game,” Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr said. “Some people call it the game within the game. Call it whatever you want. It’s a tough series. It’s been a hard-fought series, a low-scoring, tight series. There’s all kinds of stuff that’s happening out there. As an individual, you want to win as many as those little battles. … I enjoy it, yeah.”
The Kings won’t win the Western Conference or the Pacific Division. The best they can do is finish fourth in the conference and second in the division. But with only three regular-season games remaining before they begin their Stanley Cup championship defense, it would be difficult to find a team playing better then the Kings are at the moment.
The evolution of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty continued Saturday night at Staples Center. The numbers might not reflect it, but years from now Doughty might very well look back on the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season as a turning point in his career.
Doughty went into the Kings’ game against the rival Ducks with four goals and 14 assists in 41 games, off the pace for last season’s 10 goals and 26 assists in 77 games. He admitted it bothered him to see his production slow to only a trickle.