By the law of small sample sizes,* only old head coaches can succeed with new teams this season.
The Los Angeles Kings topped the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 via a shootout today to win Darryl Sutter’s debut. Fellow veteran bench boss Ken Hitchock was the only other replacement coach to win his first game, putting the old dogs at 2-0. Contrast that with the goose eggs from first-timers Kirk Muller and Randy Cunneyworth alongside second-time coach Bruce Boudreau and you might have an obnoxious pseudo-trend on your hands.
The Kings didn’t look like an offensive juggernaut in their first game under Sutter, but that’s not what GM Dean Lombardi was expecting with the coaching change.
Lombardi wanted to see more effort from the Kings and more production from should-be star Drew Doughty, and there were promising signs in both areas. Doughty earned assists on both of the Kings’ goals while Los Angeles out-shot Anaheim in every period aside from a 2-1 OT difference. (The Kings generated a 34-22 shot advantage.)
In other good news, Mike Richards scored in his first game back from a concussion.
One December game only means so much – and it was against the lowly Ducks – but it never hurts to get off to a good start. The Kings might not ever be the sexy, dominant team many of us were hoping to see in 2011-12, but this squad could grind their way to a deep run if they play more games like Sutter’s debut.
* Note: I’m fairly certain there isn’t a theory of small sample sizes, let alone a law.
The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.
Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.
The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.
Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.
Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.
The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.
Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.
Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.
The Red Wings have placed Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko on injured reserve.
Placing these players on I.R. opens up four more roster spots for Detroit.
The Red Wings have suffered an incredibe amount of injuries heading into the season.
Datsyuk (ankle) is expected to be out until November.
DeKeyser (foot) is going to miss three-to-four weeks, while Helm (concussion) and Marchenko (lower-body) are considered day-to-day.
The team also announced that they have reduced their training camp roster to 27 players on Sunday.
Top prospect Dylan Larkin remains in camp for now.
Coach Jeff Blashill told reporters that the 19-year-old has looked good, but a final decision hasn’t been made on where he will play this year.
As for Larkin, he’s just fed up of living in a hotel.
“There’s been so much speculation and so many questions, and no one really knows,” said Larkin. “Maybe the coaches know, but just to find out where I’ll be living or what’s happening — I’m kind of sick of the hotel. It would be nice to know what’s going on.”