The uncertainty surrounding Sunday’s Game 5 between the Canucks and Kings is eating away at L.A. head coach Darryl Sutter.
The problem is this: There could be as many as four playoff games on Sunday — Boston-Washington, Pittsburgh-Philadelphia, Nashville-Detroit and Vancouver-L.A. — or as few as two (if the Flyers and Predators close out their series tonight.)
That’s wreaking havoc on NHL schedule-makers, who are forced to take a wait-and-see approach before finalizing Sunday’s start times.
The wait-and-see approach is also wreaking havoc on Sutter. Here’s what he told Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider:
“It’s only the Stanley Cup playoffs, and it’s only Game 5, but we don’t know what time we’re playing Sunday? We have to travel and set practice plans. I hope it’s not interfering with anything else.
“If you guys find out, tell me. That’s beyond frustrating. I know it’s only a two-hour flight to Vancouver, but say we were going to St. Louis or Detroit, and we still don’t know? And you’re two time zones away? What’s hard about it?
“I understand there’s TV and all that stuff. It does affect. It doesn’t necessarily affect that day, but it certainly affects the team that’s traveling. … I’m going to assume it has something to do with the two Canadian teams, with Ottawa and with the center of the universe [Vancouver] does.
“It’s like getting a horse ready to run on Sunday. He’s got to do things right on Saturday.’’
(Note: Hammond’s original copy says [Vancouver] is the center of the universe, so I left it in considering he procured the quote. That said, everybody knows Canadians call Toronto the center of the universe.)
For the record, Sutter was also choked about having to wait three days between Games 4 and 5 (due to Saturday’s Coldplay concert at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena.)
“I didn’t like having two days between these last two,” he said. “I don’t like having three now. Your series used to be encapsulized and so tight, and staying in the mood.’”
I believe the word Sutter was looking for was “encapsulated.”
/adjusts pocket protector