It’s been much more than “Weekend at Bernie’s,’’ as Bernie Nicholls has been with the Kings for two and a half weeks now in a still-undefined role as a non-assistant assistant to Darryl Sutter. Nicholls has been on the ice for every practice, working with players in offensive drills, but — as suggested when he started — has stayed away from the more specific tasks such as video work.
SUTTER: “When he first called, I said, `Yeah, come on in, darn right.’ I think it’s important. More is better, as long as it’s all the same message. As long as it’s the same thing you’re working on, that’s good. You can’t have enough good experience or communication with guys, and I think that’s something you need with a young team. You need more individual stuff. I just need that.’’
Sutter said Nicholls is having an influence on the power play, which has shown a moderate improvement over the last couple weeks.
SUTTER: Darn right. Our power play, the last eight games, has been pretty good. When you think about it, it’s moved up about two percent, and our goals for at home has moved up. It’s moved up four-tenths. If we can get another half-goal a game, and maybe it’s just something you talk to one kid about. That’s all we’re trying to do. Originally, he wasn’t going to come on the last trip, but I said, `You’ve got to see some of these guys on the road, because it’s a big difference, home and away.’ So you just can’t say, `This guy is great at home, he’s a great player. Because you’ve only seen him at home.’ So I said, `You’ve got to come on the road,’ and then we’re going on the break. We’ve only had three games. Quite honestly, I enjoy having Bernie around. He’s a guy I coached. There’s lots of those guys out there. They just have to be wanting to do it. There’s lots of them. You hear from guys all the time now, who want to get back into it. It’s hard, once you’re out, to get in.’’
Sutter indicated that he hadn’t decided how long Nicholls would stay with the team…
SUTTER: “I’ll talk to him once the break starts. I get caught in the moment always, so I’ve got to use the days, the break, properly, to kind of reset where we’re at again.’’