Davis Payne III - LA Kings Insider

In part III, Davis is asked about people who influenced him to want to be a coach…what did he know about Darryl Sutter before he interviewed…other “friends’ with the Kings…staying in the “mix” when in “transition”.

JF:  Anyone that sticks out to you, as a major influence, in becoming and then progressing as a coach?

DP:  I think in becoming a coach, Bob Francis, who was coach of the year in this league.  He coached me in the minors, he spoke a language that just made sense to me and just really clinging” to how he operated and how he presented things, was something that really got the gears turning as far as my understanding of how to deal with players and systems and teams and I think that was a huge, huge factor.  Then, once I developed a relationship with Larry Pleau, through our affiliation in Alaska and on through the minors and then on to the National Hockey League, his ability to maintain that even keel about where you are and what you’re doing each day, I think had a big influence on me.  There are so many other guys, but I think those two in particular, played a big part.

JF:  What did you know about Darryl Sutter when you came to the Kings for your interview?  Perhaps, watching and learning and competing against him?

DP:  That was really the extent of our relationship, coaching against his teams in Calgary when he was the GM.  I’m sure we had met in passing in a hallway somewhere but never really had any time to talk or anything like that.  I knew that, like all the Sutters, there was a work element and a respect element and a passion for the game of hockey element that is unparalleled and I found that to be “bang on accurate”.  His ability to communicate and his ability to understand people, I think is something, that to the level that it is, is really powerful and has been really neat and hopefully as we get going here, it will be something to learn from because he is outstanding at it and I think that this team obviously saw the results of his feel for players and for teams and what’s necessary for the group and I see that as a real positive thing for our group to continue.

JF:  Anyone else in the Kings organization that you knew a little bit more than just saying “hi”?

DP:  Well I played with Billy Ranford for a little bit (Boston Bruins), so there was kind of a common understanding there, but his was as a number one goaltender and mine was as a fringe fourth line winger.  But, you know, just to see a familiar face and obviously, you know how locker rooms are, once you’ve played with a guy, you’ve always played with him. So it was kind of nice coming to a staff that there was an acquaintance there.  I played against John Stevens in the minors, but never really had a chance to meet him or get a chance to know him.  There is no question that I’m the new guy and getting a chance to learn a lot about these guys and how they tick and how they how they make this team tick.

JF:  As a player, it’s play, you’re scouted, and you’re drafted.  Maybe you’re traded.  As a coach, how do you stay in the mix?  Do you have an agent?  Do you monitor other teams?  How do you do that when you are not necessarily working?

DP:  All of that.  You have an agent working for you just as far as expanding your contacts and maybe getting some phone calls and trying to find out what is going on in a certain situation.  As far as yourself, it’s relying on your relationships with people throughout the game that you’ve met.  Or phone calls to people to introduce yourself.  These are things that you’ve got to do if you find yourself in “transition”, so to speak.