The Kings did not qualify for the playoffs this season, and that’s a shame not only in the sense that they were unable to vie to become the first team to successfully defend their Stanley Cup title since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998, but also because those who take interest in Darryl Sutter’s pithy declarations were deprived of the most fertile breeding ground of his quotes. The Stanley Cup Playoffs provided the backdrop to messages that have endured such as “six, seven, four, three, zero, one,” “I saw it live and in technicolor,” “cages are a good thing,” “fly at 11,” and “he’s the best goalie I’ve ever seen.”
Even though the season ended in the second week of April, and even though there was no Detroit Incident this season, there were still plenty of succinct and biting observations by the Kings coach, whether he was making one of his semi-frequent M*A*S*H references or simply reading the text on a cameraman’s T-shirt. There was also the preseason recollection of an off-ice mountain retreat gone awry with the Blackhawks, and his honest appraisal of team bonding excursions.
On knowing Ben Scrivens’ stick tape was illegal:
If you check the books, he played for us.
On what he says to the team before a challenging road trip:
Set the clock ahead. We’ve got a long flight tonight and a time change. There’s no magic in it.
On whether he was scoreboard watching:
Well, how the hell can I scoreboard watch when I’m trying to coach a game? Really, how would I be watching the scoreboard? Like, just think about it.
Happy Easter. Nighttime Painting Services.
On how the team has turned around its play on the road:
Big thing on the road with our team has been extra innings.
On whether “we’re going to see you in September”:
Absolutely. What do you mean, ‘see me?’ Am I invisible?
On two players on Anaheim being diagnosed with mumps:
I remember when I was a boy and we had nine of us living in one house, and all seven of us boys had mumps. So what’s the big deal? Because athletes got it? We were athletes. We were just seven-and-under.
On the 6-4 win over St. Louis:
Well, I thought it was pretty good. Usually a couple of you guys are burying us when we get down one goal, so just for us to come back’s a mild miracle.
On Dave Cameron:
Get them maritime coaches. They’re all good coaches.
On what Los Angeles has done differently on this road trip:
We’ve still got a lot of guys who haven’t scored a goal since Jesus was a baby, so we’re probably not doing anything different.
On Andy Andreoff vying to get into the lineup:
I mean, I wish someone would’ve paid me $700,000 to break a sweat for an hour a day. I don’t think it’s tough here. He should be very thankful being in the environment that he’s in.
On limiting Colorado to 10 shots:
I’ve said that lots this year. I just said a little while ago, as soon as we get a game where we give up 30-to-40 shots, I get a mic stuck in my face wondering ‘what’s wrong with our team?’ But usually what’s wrong is just that a guy broke his pencil off.
On Robyn Regehr playing sick:
He’s had more IV in him the last four days, I mean, between every period, friggin’, we’re having meetings and he’s laying there like he’s Hawkeye. I was saying, Robyn, ‘can you hear me in there?’ He’s goin’ ‘yeah.’ Friggin’ bags coming out of him.
On playing professionally in Japan:
I wasn’t even legal age yet. That was the summer I turned 20. That’s a long time. I’m sure that Japan has changed more than I have.
On how he’d describe the 6-5 shootout loss to Anaheim:
How’d I describe it? Lost in a shootout.
On the players emphasizing a strong start in Minnesota:
The start part of it, what does ‘a start’ mean? Does that mean the first shift, the first period, the first five minutes, the first power [play]?
On whether all remaining games are “must-wins”:
There’s no such thing as a ‘must-win.’ Nobody gets locked up or thrown in the ocean or anything. I’m not into that. It’s just a game.
On vying to make the playoffs:
The train has got to be a work train, not the Stanley Cup train. The Stanley Cup train was last year, and some guys just have to get off that train. There’s no extra for it. You get nothing for it. If it affected your next regular season with the way the transition and your personnel goes, then [at the] start of the year, they should give you points for it.
On TV timeouts and pre-overtime breaks:
Well, it’s a new rule, and the benches aren’t big enough for everybody to sit on, so there are guys out on the ice. I mean, when you look at the rules when everybody’s supposed to be on the bench and you come out for the period, there are some teams that come out and there’s 20 guys skating around. I was thinking once in a while we should just tell the other team let’s all do figure eights. Every commercial timeout. It used to be it’d be a full scale line brawl if you did it. Now there’s guys skating all over, there’s guys doing calisthenics, there’s yoga. If you’re in the crowd you get lots more than a hockey game. Three time outs, there’s 18 guys rolling their yoga mats out there.
On the new LED lighting at Staples Center:
It’s like going to the store and buying the curly bulbs.
On the evolving rivalry with Anaheim:
All you have to do is go back to the rookie tournament, the last rookie camp last year, and you go into their building and there’s 10,000 people. This year we played a rookie game in Phoenix and there were a hundred of your closest friends. It’s a big difference.
On the decision to use Jordan Weal in the shootout:
Tanner Pearson told me to, so I did. You do what you’re told.
On how he decides who he’ll use in the shootout:
I just have balls that have numbers on ‘em. The first one that comes out. 77. I got lucky tonight.
On shot attempts:
Also, when you’re home for an extended period of time, our building has a problem with giving the home team shots and the other team more shots. It’s a fact. We had a game three or four games ago where Kopitar had two quality scoring chances on one shift but he didn’t have a shot on goal in the game. There are lots of people, quite honest, that sit in the press box that don’t have anything to do. Somebody should actually do that stat, because it’s amazing when you do it yourself what the discrepancy is. Everyone grabs that sheet at the end of the period and goes, ‘Oh, oh.’ [Reporter: Do you keep those numbers?] I can tell you how many scoring chances, how many shots almost right dead on when I walk off the ice, and all I have to do is confirm it when I watch it later. I don’t know much, but I can count. [Reporter: Are there certain buildings around the league that are notorious for maybe on one side, favoring one team?] Yeah, there’s one. One that I’m really familiar with.
On the smell of the circus at Madison Square Garden:
I always liked that smell. It was like the barn.
On the players wanting to watch Rob Blake’s jersey retirement:
Yeah, I’m sure they want to. You can tell they really respect him, and he’s not far enough removed from the game that they can’t remember him. There are some of the ceremonies and things that go on around the league that the players don’t remember those guys. If you ask them, they don’t even remember them playing. I remember asking Brad Stuart once about Gary Suter. He thought he was my brother. ‘Stu, you’re from Rocky Mountain House. Sutes played in Calgary.’ It’s like, how could you not know him?
On what he told the players after the shootout loss:
Aw, we’ve had such an awful three years. I don’t know how I can come up with anything to tell them after we lose a game.
On what he attributes seven wins in nine games to:
All the support from everybody. It’s fantastic. It makes us feel good.
On team building:
I’m not into that, what you hear about go climbing ropes and going to a fort somewhere. You do most of your bonding in May and June, quite honest.
On a trip with 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.
On whether he later spoke with the players about skiing:
Yeah, I told them I thought they were excellent.
On team bonding excursions:
If you need to go somewhere to learn about your personality, then you probably have a disorder.
On whether he’s excited for the Stadium Series game:
I haven’t thought one minute [about it] other than I didn’t like them white pants the other day.
On what he remembers about coaching his first Kings practice:
I was trying to stay behind some of them big guys until I got to know the guys that once in a while have their own course. I still watch out for a couple of ‘em.
On what kind of party he’ll throw for his 100th win in Los Angeles:
I would’ve preferred to get Jonathan the cob. Actually that’s not really true, is it? We’ve won a lot more games than that. [Reporter: Still a nice milestone, though, isn’t it?] Yeah, if I was a young guy, it would be.
On winning four consecutive home games:
Well, I know if we would’ve lost one of ‘em it would be a calamity.
On a heavy slate of early season home games:
I mean, just think, maybe next year we’ll play all 82 at home. Maybe there won’t be any. I mean, that’s one of the advantages of maybe winning the Stanley Cup two out of three years. You get to play every game at home.
On early season penalty killing success:
Penalty killing is always about ebb and flow. We’ll have one game and you’ll be throwing darts at us, and a couple good ones and you’re going, ‘Holy cow.’
On whether here is a trend that teams are erasing deficits:
Well, we’re only eight-to-10 games in, so to me trends are just for the ‘insiders.’ Basically it’s gossip and [road apples]. Quite honest, I mean, I have to answer the question, but it’s mostly [road apples].
On his impression of the Penguins after an offensive outburst against New Jersey:
Build a fence tomorrow.
On Detroit’s penalty kill:
It gets hot and gets cold. We dropped three percent in a game. Hopefully we can drop theirs three percent tonight. By the end of the next week, then they’re in the middle of the pack. Stats are for you guys.
On the team battling a flu bug:
It’s sort of what the popular thing around the league now for guys to use as an excuse, and we don’t.
On whether he had a chance to see Willie Mitchell before the game:
Yeah, I did. [Reporter: Did you say anything to him at all?] Well, if I had seen him, did you think I didn’t say anything to him? That would be kind of strange, wouldn’t it? [Reporter: I just talked to him, and he was really excited about that entire get together beforehand. What was it like for you to be able to be there with the ring for him?] Presented a player who helped us win the Stanley Cup his Stanley Cup ring. How do you think that felt?
On whether he’s concerned about Drew Doughty’s heavy usage:
What am I going to do about it? Say ‘yes’ and not play him that much and lose?
On whether he felt the earthquake:
There were lots in the first period.
On Alec Martinez:
He’s got a lot of stitches for a little finger.
On having spoken to Ted Nolan about “cows and farms and stuff”:
Yeah, we were just talking about the snow they had and the snow that’s gone.
On the potential for “That 70’s Line” to be reunited:
The last time we went on a long road trip they lasted three shifts, and they haven’t played together since. It’s about performance and production. It’s not about what numbers they wear or how sexy it looks.
If they were so important than they’d have them in the playoffs. I don’t have the time of day for ‘em other than trying to score on ‘em. It’s unfair for your goalies, quite honest, because they feel like when they get beat, they feel like they’ve lost the game. At the end of the day, with the imbalance – I’ve said this lots – with the imbalance in conferences, meaning 16 teams and 14 teams – when teams are able to get into the playoffs because somebody’s good in a shootout, it doesn’t really make much sense to me.
On whether there’s anything special about the three-year anniversary of his hiring:
No. I just moved from being a farmer. The days were really short and we needed a little bit more sunlight. The days would get – what is it, the 19th or 20th – when we’d start going the other way. That’s what I remember. We need that, a little more sunlight. A couple more minutes tomorrow.
On allowing seven goals:
I told our players several times tonight – it was going to take seven goals to win. I was right.
On whether Mike Richards will play:
You’ve got to talk to these guys. I never ever talked about that, so these guys that have all the inside – so what’s that paper, the Insider, whatever?
On the void caused by the losses of Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli:
You don’t replace those players. What you do is you put other guys in, guys who are either bitching about ice time who think they should be playing, or guys who you have to move out of position a little bit, or veterans who just have to give you a little bit more.
On Nick Shore’s call-up:
There are guys who are here who are here not because they made the team, but because they were basically given a job. I told the Shore boy I’m glad he’s here.
On the Stadium Series game:
From my standpoint if you think about it, if you had said 40 years ago to me that we could have played a game in Chavez Ravine and played one in the Bay Area, that [would’ve been great]. We were used to black and white TV and we did play outdoors. [Reporter: Never played outdoors with 70,000 fans, though.] I think there were a million fans when we played.
On what he liked about the team’s checking and play without the puck:
Well, obviously we liked our game. I mean, we won. That’s what we’re trying to do is win games, so I liked that. I’m not sure everybody does, but I do.
On how much he looks at the standings:
First of all, if you’re a Canadian, everybody’s looking at the standings. I’m a Canadian, so I’m looking at ‘em.
On Jonathan Quick’s detractors:
Well, that’s too bad. Basically, those are the people who don’t want somebody to do well.
On slowing down the Islanders’ speed:
Well, we’re a fast team, too. You can’t slow speed down, otherwise you go sit in the little box over there.
The biggest problem we’ve got with this road trip? We’ve got some guys who travel with us that think they’ve only got two weeks left in their season. So that’s our biggest problem, is trying to keep them motivated. Not the team, it’s friggin’ all the nice planes and all those nice meals and hotels. It’s hard for some guys to think that they’ve only got a few days left. It’s quite funny, actually.
On whether he pays attention to the standings at this time of the year:
Yeah, I get up and go to the bathroom at like three in the morning. … Well, you’ve got to do it in the middle of the night because there are still games going on. I go to bed so early. With shootouts and overtimes now, you take another half hour out of here, the schedules. It’s a great league. You make the playoffs just based on – what do you call it? A play after the game. Teams that are best on plays after the games, and we’ve got to make the playoffs. [Reporter: Beauty contest.] Yeah.
On sharing equipment:
Heck, my brother Brian – Brian was the captain in St. Louis and I was the captain in Chicago, and we wore the same skates and [used] the same sticks and we played each other a lot cause of the old Norris Division, so if he was short of sticks, I always brought one or two for him, and if I was needing a pair of skates, we got ‘em. You know what? That’s what you did.
On banged up players:
Everybody that we took was 100% going into games, other than Greener taking that axe last night. How’d they miss that? Friggin’ cut from the top of his [head], there-to-there. [Reporter: The ref was right there, too. It was in the corner, huh?] I know. The one apologized to him, and the other one said he didn’t see it. [Reporter: It looked like heavy stitching that was done up there. That was a deep cut.] He looked like one of those old sewing machines at the shoemakers, right? Jeez.