The Los Angeles Kings have won two of the past three Stanley Cups, but couldn’t muster the strength to mount a late-season push this time. After back-to-back losses to Edmonton and Calgary, the high-powered Kings – an advanced stats darling – surprisingly failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Larry Brooks of the New York Post wrote that the calendar finally caught up to them. For three seasons in a row, the Kings were playing hockey well into June and more than a few players also suited up for their country in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. But more than that, Brooks writes that the team may be tiring of coach Darryl Sutter.
Slap Shots has been told by two sources that the Kings locked the door to their locker room following a defeat on the road within the last two weeks so that Sutter could not get in and deliver what the players apparently expected to be another in a series of lectures/tirades.
As the tale was told, after Sutter finally tracked down an arena operative to unlock the door, he was greeted by three heavy waste receptacles lined up as barricade to what had become an empty room.
Following the report, Sportsnet’s Daren Millard tweeted there is no rift in the Kings’ dressing room.
Sutter’s longest tenure behind an NHL bench was with the San Jose Sharks, where he served for five full seasons and parts of a sixth. He was the head coach for three years in Chicago and Calgary and just finished his fourth season in Los Angeles.
It’s hard to believe Sutter’s job would be in jeopardy. There’s little doubt he’ll be given an opportunity to turn it around with a rested Kings team next season.
But if this development were true, it’s certainly interesting. If the Kings start slow out of the gate next season and feelings like these linger, perhaps Sutter’s leash won’t be a long one.
Sutter himself has no doubts at all that he’ll be back next season. When asked by Jon Rosen of LAKingsInsider.com if “we’re going to see you in September” Sutter replied: “Absolutely. What do you mean, ‘see me?’ Am I invisible?”