It’s official. An appointment predicted almost immediately in the aftermath of Terry Murray’s dismissal as the Los Angeles Kings’ coach was confirmed by the NHL team Tuesday morning. Darryl Sutter, a former Calgary Flames’ coach and general manager, will take over the slumping Kings, beginning with practice Wednesday morning, after which Sutter will speak at news conference.
It will be the first time Sutter has broken his silence since resigning as general manager of the Flames back on Dec. 28 of last year. In Sutter, the Kings hire a coach with long ties to general manager Dean Lombardi. The two worked together in the San Jose Sharks organization and Lombardi credits Sutter with turning a young Sharks team into a viable playoff contender. It is believed that Sutter hasn’t even spoken to brother Brent, currently Calgary’s coach, since he left the Flames organization almost a year ago.
The Kings and Flames are scheduled to meet in Calgary on Jan. 14. Sutter, who began his NHL head coaching career with the Chicago Blackhawks - becomes the 24th head coach in Kings history. Murray coached the Kings the past three-plus seasons and was relieved of his duties on December 12. John Stevens has assumed the duties of interim head coach the past four games.
The 53-year-old Sutter has a career head coaching record of 409-320-131 in 860 regular season games. He’s tied for 27th among all-time NHL head coaches in games (seventh among active coaches) and is tied for 24th all-time among NHL head coaches in wins (seventh among active coaches). Sutter’s teams have eclipsed the 40-win mark four times, 100 points twice and his clubs have finished in first place three times. He is also only one of nine head coaches in NHL history to lead three different teams to 100 wins. Only Scotty Bowman and Ron Wilson have coached four different teams to 100 wins.
Sutter’s teams have qualified for the postseason 10 of his 11 seasons. He led Calgary to Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals and Chicago to the 1995 Western Conference Finals. Overall, he has a 47-54 record in 101 career postseason games. He’s tied for 19th all-time among NHL head coaches in playoff games (fifth among active coaches) and is tied for 24th all-time among NHL head coaches in playoff wins (tied for sixth among active coaches).
Sutter was previously the general manager of the Flames and he held that position from the 2003-04 season until he resigned on December 28, 2010. Sutter also served as Calgary’s head coach from 2002-03 through 2005-06 (he held dual roles as head coach and general manager from 2003-04 through 2005-06).
As the head coach of the Flames for three seasons, Sutter compiled a 107-73-30 record in the regular season and an 18-15 record in the postseason. The Flames increased their point total all three seasons he was head coach. He led Calgary to the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals and a first-place finish in the Northwest Division in 2005-06, when the Flames finished with a 46-25-11 record (103 points). On July 12, 2006, Sutter stepped down as Calgary’s head coach to focus solely on his GM duties.
Sutter was the head coach of the Sharks for parts of six seasons (1997-98 through the start of the 2002-03 season), where he worked under Lombardi, then the General Manager of the Sharks. Sutter was 192-167-75 in the regular season and 18-24 in the playoffs during his time in San Jose. Like Calgary, the Sharks increased their point total every season Sutter was the head coach. He led San Jose to a first-place finish in the Pacific Division in 2001-02 with a 44-27-11 record (99 points). Sutter was relieved of his duties with the Sharks on December 1, 2002.
Sutter was the head coach of the Blackhawks for three seasons (1992-93 through the shortened 1994-95 lockout season) and served as Chicago’s assistant coach in 1987-88 and as associate coach in 1990-91 and 1991-92. As the Blackhawks head coach he compiled a 110-80-26 record in the regular season and an 11-15 record in the postseason. He led Chicago to a first-place finish in the Norris Division - and the best record in the Campbell Conference - in 1992-93 with a 47-25-12 record (106 points). The following season he led Chicago to the Western Conference Finals.
Sutter’s head coaching experience also includes two seasons in the International Hockey League, where he coached the Saginaw Hawks in 1988-89 and he led the Indianapolis Ice to the Turner Cup Championship in 1989-90.
As an NHL left wing, Sutter played in 406 career NHL regular season games (all with the Blackhawks), recording 279 points and 288 penalty minutes. He scored 20-plus goals in five of his eight NHL seasons, including a career-high 40 goals in 1980-81. Sutter, who served as Chicago’s team captain from 1982-85 and again from 1986-87, also had 43 points (24-19=43) and 26 penalty minutes in 51 playoff games.
Darryl is one of seven Sutter brothers, six of whom played in the NHL. His son Brett currently plays in the Carolina Hurricanes organization.
Sutter will be behind the Kings bench on Thursday when the Kings host the Ducks at STAPLES Center at 7 p.m.