What Sutter really thinks about "bonding" excursions - LA Kings Insider

The Kings are about to embark on an irregular three-city, six-day preseason road trip that will take them through San Jose, Colorado Springs and Las Vegas. After facing the Sharks tomorrow, they’ll conclude the exhibition slate with games against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday and Saturday.

While teams have often viewed road trips early in the schedule as opportunities for players to gain chemistry together – the New York Rangers chose to travel west to Alberta, British Columbia and Las Vegas when expelled from Madison Square Garden last fall due to arena renovations – Darryl Sutter doesn’t necessarily see the benefit of so-called “bonding” excursions.

“I’m not into that, what you hear about go climbing ropes and going to a fort somewhere,” he said. “You do most of your bonding in May and June, quite honest.”

In the past, there have been excursions he has taken with his team, and the “team bonding” experience is still common in today’s game. The San Jose Sharks held a players’ summit in Lake Tahoe during the most recent offseason, and the St. Louis Blues, taking advantage of a generous break in the schedule while on a Western Canadian road trip during the truncated 2012-13 season, spent three days practicing (and enjoying, presumably) Whistler, British Columbia.

The “enjoying” aspect seems to follow such team bonding trips around.

“It was more in the book, when you looked up ‘bonding,’ it was ‘partying,’” Sutter said. “So, when you think about it, we used to go to Banff, Vegas…Whistler. So when you looked up ‘bonding,’ it was also skiing.”

The bonding discussion stirred up a memory of one memorable trip when he was coaching the Blackhawks.

“We were in Whistler with a team, a good team, actually, and one of the rules that we gave them was that they weren’t allowed to ski. Well, if you go to Whistler, what are you going to do? If you’re not skiing, you’re just going to go sit, friggin’, throw darts and drink beer? Really, what are you going to do? ‘No skiing.’ So, in other words, throwin’ darts was all right. Well, we were up way high on the mountain with the coaches, and we were looking through one of those telescopes, we could see all these guys on trenchcoats going down the black diamond. When I looked a little closer, it was all our players. So they didn’t even cover it up. That’s what they brought, was trenchcoats. So they knew the rule was not going to be enforced.”

Was there ever anything the coach shared with the team after the rule was broken?

“Yeah, I told them I thought they were excellent.”

As he made clear, the 2014-15 Kings aren’t exactly in dire need of a team bonding experience.

“If you need to go somewhere to learn about your personality, then you probably have a disorder.”

Darryl Sutter, on the benefits to the preseason road trip:
Hey, the good thing to going up to the Springs, quite honest, you’re there three days. There’s always a couple guys who can use the altitude too. And that’s also when you ask about those injured guys, well, you’ve got to be careful how you use them up there, because you hate to see somebody because of fatigue get hurt. I’ve got to be careful with that.

Sutter, on ever having thoughts about taking the players to Big Bear or Mammoth:
It’s really tough with our schedule. Really, really tough. I mean, the way the schedule’s been, and even though this comes back into a normal year, I mean, you look at the two breaks in our schedule, we’ve got four days…in November, maybe, that we don’t need to be doing anything, and then you probably need some downtime. And then with the way the CBA’s set up now, with the three days at Christmas, December’s a heavy month for us. So you’re getting into that, and then the next time’s the All-Star Break, and you want the guys to get away again. There’s not really a good time for it, and even when we set our seasons up now when we’re traveling, you know what? I don’t want to practice in practice rinks. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Try and stay in big buildings as much as I can, so that gives guys – they know the schedule. Quite honest, a lot of them are coming and asking me what we’re doing in this crunch or in this black of time so that they can have input in it, and that’s the best way to do it.

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

VIEW ALEC MARTINEZ POSTS
Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

VIEW ANZE KOPITAR POSTS
Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

VIEW DREW DOUGHTY POSTS
Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
VIEW TYLER TOFFOLI POSTS

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

VIEW JEFF CARTER POSTS
Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

VIEW JONATHAN QUICK POSTS