LA Kings Darryl Sutter: “The Stanley Cup Train Was Last Year. Some Guys Have To Get Off That Train”

Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — With one game left before the National Hockey League’s All-Star break, the Los Angeles Kings find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture.

Indeed, if the Stanley Cup Playoffs were to begin tomorrow, the defending Stanley Cup Champions would not qualify for the post-season party.

So what’s to blame for the Kings’ “malaise,” a term used by President/General Manager Dean Lombardi in a recent Canadian radio interview?

Although the recent losses of forwards Tyler Toffoli (mononucleosis) and Tanner Pearson (fractured fibula) are playing a role, the problems have been present since the season began last October. As such, you can chalk it up, in large part, to instability on the Kings’ blue line, with veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr in and out of the lineup due to various injuries, along with the loss of Slava Voynov to his ongoing suspension.

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Dustin Brown and Robyn Regehr On Rob Blake’s Enduring Impact On The Game and the LA Kings

ROB BLAKE JERSEY RETIREMENT: In the second installment of a multi-part series covering the retirement of former Kings defenseman Rob Blake’s jersey number 4 on January 17, current Kings players spoke exclusively with Frozen Royalty about the jersey retirement, and about Blake’s impact on the team and the game of hockey.

LA Kings forward and captain Dustin Brown, shown here
addressing the crowd at Staples Center in Los Angeles during
the team’s 2014 Stanley Cup Championship Rally.
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With the retirement of former Los Angeles Kings great Rob Blake’s jersey number 4 on January 17, as you might guess, the local media have been buzzing around the team’s practice facility in El Segundo, California, asking about Blake.

But if you look at the roster, only two players actually played with Blake, center Anze Kopitar and forward Dustin Brown, who both played with Blake during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.

“He was the captain right before I was captain,” said Brown. “We weren’t a good team, but you learned a lot from a guy like that—how he handled himself in the situation of being an older guy on a very young, inexperienced team. He helped Kopi and I kind of grow into the roles that we’re currently in.”

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Is LA Kings Rookie D Brayden McNabb Finding His Game Just In The Nick Of Time?

LA Kings rookie defenseman Brayden McNabb (right), shown here during a recent practice with Martin Jones
in goal and forward Andy Andreoff (left) just barely in the picture.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography


EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — Rookie defenseman Brayden McNabb was in his coaches’ doghouse.

Indeed, he was a healthy scratch in four of the Los Angeles Kings’ last seven games, and in three straight games prior to returning to the lineup on January 10, in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center in Los Angeles. But the 23-year-old, 6-4, 208-pound native of Davidson, Saskatchewan took quite the leap forward on January 12, and perhaps just in the nick of time, helping the Kings shutout the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-0, at Staples Center.

Against the Maple Leafs, McNabb played what was, arguably, his best game of the season with solid positional play, smart reads, good, quick decisions and strong physical play.

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It’s Time For LA Kings To Back Up Words With Action, Results

LA Kings defenseman Alec Martinez
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — One look at the National Hockey League standings will instantly tell you that the Los Angeles Kings are currently in the Western Conference playoff picture. But they will also show that they are just about as close to being out of playoff contention as they are to being in the thick of it.

On January 8, the Kings will play their 41st game of the season (against the New York Rangers, 7:30 PM, Staples Center), the halfway mark, and given their precarious playoff position, the time is now for them to back up their words with action and results, something they’re well aware of.

“We really need to turn it around quickly here,” said defenseman Drew Doughty. “We’re not happy with how we’re playing. It’s halfway through the season, and we’re just barely in a playoff spot. We want to have a lot more ground in front of other teams.”

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Frozen Royalty Video: Interviews With Doughty, Muzzin, Sutter After Practice, 1/7/15

LA Kings head coach Darryl Sutter
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — After a day off on January 6, the Los Angeles Kings returned to practice ice working on pushing their game back in the right direction as they hit the halfway point of the season against the New York Rangers on January 8 (7:30 PM PST, Staples Center in Los Angeles).

But the big news of the day was reports that head coach Darryl Sutter, and his assistant coaches, are expected to be coaching in the NHL All-Star Game on January 25, in Columbus.

Defensemen Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin talked about that after practice, as did Sutter, and you can watch those interviews below.

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