In a move that’s been in the works for over a week, Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi officially hired Darryl Sutter as the 24th head coach in franchise history today. Sutter will take over for interim head coach John Stevens tomorrow and make his Kings coaching debut Thursday in the latest installment of the Freeway Face-Off.
[PHT Notes: The Kings and Ducks have met three times this season. In the first and second meetings, the coaches were Randy Carlyle and Terry Murray. In the third, they were Murray and Bruce Boudreau. In the fourth, they’ll be Boudreau and Sutter.]
Because most identify Sutter with his latest — and disastrous — stint as general manager of the Calgary Flames, it’s easy to overlook the fact he’s been a highly-successful head coach. His 409 wins put him tied for 24th all-time (seventh among active coaches) and his teams have qualified for the playoffs in 10 of his 11 seasons.
One thing Sutter lacks, however, is familiarity with the Kings roster. He hasn’t coached a single player in the organization, though he does have some history with LA’s biggest rivals, the Ducks and Sharks. Sutter coached in San Jose for six seasons, working with the likes of Patrick Marleau and Teemu Selanne — the latter being Anaheim’s leading scorer this year.