We get that Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi felt he had to fire Terry Murray [...]. What we cannot understand is the name that is floating around as Murray’s replacement. Let’s get this straight. The Kings fired Murray ostensibly because they aren’t nearly creative enough given their personnel and can’t score goals and their answer to that problem is to possibly hire Darryl Sutter? [...] Perhaps before the Kings give Sutter his first NHL coaching job in five years, they should consider he has coached three teams during his NHL tenure for a total of nine full seasons and two partial ones. In those nine full seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, Sharks and Calgary Flames, his teams finished in the top half of the league in NHL scoring exactly once, when his Sharks finished fourth in the league in goals scored in 2001-02. In the other eight seasons, his team finished an average of 20th in offensive production. (That includes one season when the league was comprised of just 24 teams, two when it was 26th, one when it was 27 and one when it was 28.) [...] Therefore, the fact they’re even considering replacing Murray with Sutter is nothing short of confusing. The Sutter way, which is heavy on rhetoric about hard work and short on success, involves playing suffocating, mind-numbing defensive hockey that is enjoyable to neither watch nor play. And Los Angeles is one of those markets in the NHL where the team not only has to be successful, it has to be entertaining. With Sutter in charge, we predict the Kings will be neither of those.
My reaction to the news that the Kings are looking at Sutter on their short list is not much different from Campbell's. With one important difference.
It's not confusing at all.
Why would you replace one defensive-minded coach with another one, especially if the problem is scoring goals? Because Lombardi doesn't think that the problem is scoring goals. He doesn't think the problem is the system, either. He thinks the problem is THE PLAYERS AREN'T LISTENING. I don't think his accountability speech to the players yesterday was a bunch of hot air. I think he really does think it's their fault, and he really is pissed they are in the position they are. How many times has Lombardi said it's defense-defense-defense we want offense but not at the expense of defense you build from the goaltender out discipline grit sandpaper growing together trust Hamburger Hill team team team? He's not going to turn over a new leaf and hire a run-and-gun guy and turn Staples into the Wild West.
Lombardi doesn't want to change the philosophy of the team. He wants to change how that philosophy is taught. Terry Murray is a nice guy, a teacher, a beneficent father figure. Darryl Sutter, for all of his obvious charms, is a snarling crazy person.
The point of (even considering) hiring him is to scare the bejesus out of everyone. Of course hiring Darryl Sutter would be more of the same. Lombardi doesn't want to change the message. He just wants it to be delivered a little more...um...colorfully.