A staple under Sutter? Strong records at Staples Center - LA Kings Insider

Personnel changes, systems evolve and league heavyweights rise and fall, but if there’s an aspect of regular season play that has mostly remained constant under Darryl Sutter, it’s that his teams have been very good at home in the regular season. How good? Since he was introduced as the head coach on December 21, 2011, the Kings have operated at a .693 points percentage at Staples Center.

Granted, such a record is a reflection of the team’s overall success over that span, but that first year was a challenge. Los Angeles’ home record in 2011-12 was 22-14-5, the second-lowest home point accumulation out of the 16 teams that qualified for the playoffs that year. But with Sutter at the helm, Los Angeles earned points in 18 of 23 regular season games played at Staples Center and ultimately won six of nine playoff games on Figueroa Avenua. The next season, the Kings’ 19-4-1 record represented the best points percentage out of any full season during Sutter’s tenure.

Given that there was a column from the San Jose Mercury News during the 2011 playoff series between the teams that pinpointed Staples Center as “a Kenny G experience,” this is an interesting turnabout. (By the way, feel free to read the comments here, and sniff that old article link like a fine wine.)

When did that turnaround from Kenny G to GWG after GWG occur?

“It’s hard to say,” Drew Doughty said. “We started off my first couple years, our team was kind of growing and we were young and getting better and better every year and then I think by the time it was our third year we started to have that identity of the hard team to play against. A physical team that no one kind of wanted to come in here and play, so ever since then I feel like we’ve done a decent job at it, but we still haven’t done as good a job as we’d really like to.”

Considering the team has won a pair of Stanley Cups on home ice, I don’t know if we should hold it against them.

Earlier today, I asked Darryl Sutter about the team’s 9-2-0 start on home ice, and whether there are any staples stapling together performances at, well, Staples Center. It’s not as simple as just “home game” versus “road game.”

“You have to deal with so many [variables]. It’s not like the ‘home-road’ thing,” he said. “You have to deal with so many different things at home here. Look at this week. It does affect your team. We play a noon game on Saturday or Sunday or whenever the hell it is, and we play at 7:45 tonight. Like, there are so many different things, and then this year with the 50th and a lot of the pre-game stuff. Hey, your players have to deal with different ways of preparation. We trust them and their focus, and we’ve seen it, we’ve talked lots about it. Our schedule has backed off now in these games the last couple weeks, how guys deal. Guys have got to learn how to handle that, too. That affects your home performance. For sure it does when you’ve got a lot of young guys. I don’t think it’s points to one thing. If you do it, Jon, break it down by year. I’m thinking when I came here that first year, we weren’t a great home-record team. We basically played the other team, we played the whole game in our own zone. We didn’t make those adjustments. That’s how you create your identity is at home. We’ve had to change that a lot. It’s not easy. Most of the good teams have good home records, though. When you talk about how tough the schedule is, well, if there is any advantage, it is home cooking [inaudible] at home. So that’s how we’ve got to look at it. You’ve got to try and take full advantage of that.”

Tonight’s game should be interesting. Entering the 2015-16 season, home teams were 26-6-1 in the previous 33 regular season games in the series, and Los Angeles was coming off an 8-1-1 stretch at Staples Center against San Jose. But the Sharks won both regular season games in the building last season before going 3-0 during the teams’ five-game playoff series.

Los Angeles Kings home records under Darryl Sutter:

2011-12: 14-5-4
2012-13: 19-4-1
2013-14: 23-14-4
2014-15: 25-9-7
2015-16: 26-12-3
2016-17: 9-2-0
TOTAL: 116-46-19 (.693)

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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


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.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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


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.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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


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.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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


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.