Over the past few days, Darryl Sutter’s trip to Manchester, to see some of the Kings’ prospects during the NHL All-Star break, has been talked about. Upon his return, Sutter didn’t give many details about the trip, but Ian Clark of the Union Leader newspaper in Manchester did an excellent job of recapping the visit. The most interesting thing, perhaps, is the comparison between Sutter and Terry Murray, in terms of communication at the AHL level. Ian sent along the story for m to reprint here, because it didn’t make it into the online version of his paper. Check out more of Ian’s coverage by clicking here.
By Ian Clark
MANCHESTER — It’s only been a little more than a month since Darryl Sutter was hired as head coach of the Los Angeles Kings, but communication with the affiliate in Manchester has already improved greatly.
Sutter was in town to watch the Monarchs play Friday and Saturday nights and has been on the phone with Manchester head coach Mark Morris numerous times as well.
It’s a far cry from the sparse interaction Morris had with previous Kings coach Terry Murray.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations since things went down and he’s made regular attempts to try to pick our brain and ask about various guys that might be potential call-ups or guys that are playing well,” Morris said of Sutter. “That’s a welcome thing for us here in Manchester.”
Sutter said that the approach he’s always enjoyed in other organizations he’s been a part of is that of a team of coaches working together.
“I’m a firm believer that it’s not a head coach and then a bunch of other coaches. I believe it’s a staff and farm team coaches are just as important as the coaches of the big team,” Sutter said. “It’s good not only to be able to share a little bit of information but also in the development of players because they’re not machines. They’re mostly kids and they need the same message, but sometimes it’s been given seven or eight different ways.”
Without the benefit of a full season behind the Kings bench, Sutter came in cold and without much information on his team in L.A. and its prospects in Manchester.
“Normally, coaches get to evaluate players over the course of a year through training camp. Obviously, me coming in in December, I don’t get to see a lot of these guys,” Sutter said. “These are kids I’ve seen in junior (hockey) or (college) or other organizations, but to see them out here at their own level is important.”
Morris had not met Sutter before Friday’s introduction, but what he knows of Sutter’s reputation is solid.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about him and his hands-on approach with his players and there’s lots to be said for that,” Morris said. “He’s firm, but he’s also a guy that respects his players and tries to have a personal relationship with all of them. I think that goes a long way.”
And Sutter’s willingness to come to Manchester during the NHL all-star break is a good sign.
“It’s nice to know that people are watching out players and that they can appreciate the difficult job it is for the players and the coaches here at the American league level trying to patch lineups together and generate chemistry and have a successful outcome,” Morris said. “It’s not always acknowledged. But the mere fact that he’s here says volumes.”