While John Stevens makes his debut tonight as the Kings head coach, the club are already being proactive in finding a new head coach. Since Stevens has the interim tag, most think it will only be a matter of time before they hire a permanent replacement - snd it seems as though, not to steal the Kings' tagline for this season but "the time is now" - at least that's the way it seems.
The potential hiring won't come as easy as Sutter would still have to reach a financial agreement with the Calgary Flames (who he currently works for as the team's general manager) but there doesn't seem to any issues with that. In fact, there is a chance Sutter could be named the new head coach as early as this week, although he may need some time to make an official decision.
Should Los Angeles hire Sutter, he will be making his return to California as before Calgary, he was the head coach of the San Jose Sharks and his record there speaks for itself. Sutter was hired by the Sharks just prior to the 1997-98 season and it was a successful run as San Jose improved their record in each of Sutter's first five seasons. In his sixth season (2002-03), the Sharks got off to a slow start and Sutter was given his walking papers, along with GM Dean Lombardi.
But he didn't have to wait long as the Flames hired Sutter shortly thereafter as the team's coach and GM. After making some key moves like bringing goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff with him from San Jose, the Flames not only won their first playoff series in fifteen years in 2004 but they fell just one game short of winning the Stanley Cup - all that in Sutter's first full season in Calgary.
Although Darryl Sutter has a great track record as a GM, he has just as good a record as a coach. In a short time, Sutter took two struggling franchises in the Sharks and Flames and turn them into contenders almost overnight.
Will Darryl Sutter be a good fit in Los Angeles? I really do think so. Aside from that aforementioned, he had his share of success with the Chicago Blackhawks (the first team he coached) by leading them to a conference finals appearance in 1994-95.
Although he hasn't coached since the 2005-06 season, Darryl Sutter, as far as I'm concerned, is a very capable coach. He has grown behind the bench and his tough style will be a refreshing contrast from Terry Murray's laidback approach, even if the players don't appreciate it right off the bat.
Of course, there's also the familiarity of Sutter and Dean Lombardi who worked together (and we're fired together in San Jose). Like in Los Angeles, Lombardi built the Sharks through the draft and Sutter did his job down below.
If you ask me, it's a great fit but we'll have to see if Darryl Sutter, indeed, accepts the job in Los Angeles. Only time will tell.
Photo: Courtesy of Gavin Young, Calgary Herald Archive