What Were the Kings Doing behind Those Locked Doors?
Get your mind out of the gutter. Or don't. Maybe Tyler Toffoli doesn't stop at cuddling.
Among the flurry of post-mortem news items that emerged as the Kings concluded their season on Saturday afternoon was this bit about Kings players locking Darryl Sutter out of the locker room:
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.
First off, this is probably typical, as Andrew explained in the linked piece. Secondly, and most importantly, what in the world was actually going on behind those doors that the Kings had to barricade it?
The common theory here is that the disgruntled Kings players had grown weary of coach Sutter's methods and wanted a meeting with each other to, I dunno, vent about it? Cry on each other's shoulders? I don't buy it. They played well enough to win down the stretch. They seem to all enjoy being here. I don't think that players who are solely conditioned to win hockey games would forget that they had won 2 of the past 3 league championships as they compete for a playoff spot in the stretch run of a tough season.
Another thing: surely a seasoned, veteran coach like Darryl Sutter would understand that sometimes the players need to have a meeting among themselves. This isn't the first players-only meeting in league history and I sincerely doubt he would feel the need to barge into the room. That seems completely absurd to me. Does he not want the players to have thoughts of their own? Is he a head coached modeled out of a dystopian novel? YOU CANNOT SPEAK TO EACH OTHER, YOU CANNOT THINK YOUR OWN THOUGHTS, THERE IS ONLY DARRYL.
Sutter would only do this if he was convinced they were doing something else. Something mysterious? Something exciting? Something fun? Something dangerous? Let's speculate wildly investigate!
As the season winded down and the Kings path to the playoffs became increasingly muddled, the Kings set a contingency plan into place.
They simply had to find time to plan Darryl Sutter's birthday party.
If they were eliminated from the playoffs, this would have been one of the last times all of these guys wound up in the same room as each other before they departed to their summer destinations. Though they'd return prior to Darryl Sutter's birthday on August 19th, the time to plan would be minimal and they'd be force to haphazardly throw a party together. Instead, they carefully concocted an excellent shindig that is sure to knock Darryl's socks off.
There was a wrinkle in this plan, unfortunately, as an equipment guy overheard them planning and rushed off to alert Sutter. Unbeknownst to the Kings players doing the planning, Sutter hates surprises. He rushed back to the locker room to get them to stop this nonsense immediately. As the players realized Sutter was coming to interrupt their meeting, they barricaded the doors so they could continue to plan in peace.
A fact that seems to be lost in the shuffle here was that, when Sutter finally got the doors open, the players vanished without a trace. Seriously! Go read the article again if you missed it! When Sutter opened the doors, the room was empty.
So how'd they escape?
Obviously they found a secret passage. Of course! Tyler Toffoli had always heard rumors of there being a secret passage in the locker room the players were in, and he finally found it!
Though all of the Kings entered the passage, several bailed once they reached a well that led back to the surface. Only Tyler Toffoli, Martin Jones, Tanner Pearson, Brayden McNabb, and Jordan Nolan remained to traverse the rest of the secret chamber.
Darryl Sutter eventually grew concerned when he heard no sounds coming from beyond those locked doors, so he had arena staffers get him inside. What Larry Brooks missed in his report is that Sutter, along with John Stevens and Davis Payne, entered the passage to chase the players down.
The exhilarating game of cat and mouse continued until Tyler & friends came across an enormous ship with the word "Champion" painted on the side. Unfortunately, around the same time, the coaches had finally caught up with the players. The entire group boarded the ship and began to have it out. Just when Sutter thought he had his players back under control, Jake Muzzin and Kyle Clifford emerged from nowhere to force the coaches off the plank of the ship.
Now free to explore, Tyler pushed his way inside of a locked room that surely held the prize they'd been seeking. Inside sat a skeleton wearing a jersey that said "Toews" on the back. "Finally," Tyler said, "Dead-eyed Dickface's lost treasure."
Behind the skeleton sat a shimmering chalice. "Look guys, it's the Stanley Cup." When they lifted the trophy, "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellis begin playing. Out of frustration, Tyler beheaded the skeleton.
The Kings were enduring a rough season when they decided to call this players-only meeting. There has been much speculation as to why, but I feel we haven't quite gotten to the real reason.
Early in the season, Tanner Pearson was enjoying an afternoon on the beach. Much to his delight, he discovered a board game buried in the sand. He brought the board game to the next game so he could play with his pals. Jarret Stoll was miffed that he wasn't allowed to play; he insists that he is excellent at board games.
Unfortunately, Darryl Sutter put the kibosh on the game after Dustin Brown complained of "having a tail, you know, like a monkey's tail." Sutter told him that he just needed to score goals to get the monkey off his back, but good fortune never came for poor Dustin. Eventually he turned completely into a monkey. I didn't notice, as I didn't see him much this season.
Finally, after Alec Martinez - who had been plagued by side effects from the game all season - suffered a concussion in Tampa Bay, the Kings insisted on finishing the game they had started months ago. They hatched a devious plan to steal the game back from Sutter, who had kept the game under tight supervision after confiscating it in the first place.
Three large waste receptacles - Andy Andreoff, Jamie McBain, and Trevor Lewis - stood watch and barricaded the door. Unfortunately, when Sutter finally broke into the room, the players had been transported by the game to a tropical rainforest. They returned a few days later with Andrej Sekera, who they said they rescued along the way.