Darryl Sutter has a message for his grind guys:
Start playing like grind guys.
On Wednesday, the LA Kings head coach put his fourth liners on notice, saying they need to start playing like their size suggests.
“Some of the boys that play on our fourth line have to play like big boys,” Sutter told Helene Elliott of the LA Times.
This was largely in response to an stellar performance by St. Louis’ rambunctious fourth line of Chris Porter, Ryan Reaves and Adam Cracknell, dubbed the “CPR Line”.
The trio finished with 18 hits — Reaves leading the way with nine — and largely outplayed LA’s fourth unit.
The Kings began with Dustin Penner playing on the fourth line alongside Brad Richardson and Jordan Nolan, but it was Kyle Clifford who ended up there after Penner was promoted to skate with Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter.
It’s easy to see who Sutter was targeting with his comments. Nolan is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds but finished the night with just one hit; Clifford is 6-foot-2, 209 pounds and finished with three.
While one coach was displeased with his fourth line’s effort, another was over the moon.
Blues bench boss Ken Hitchcock praised the CPR line for not just being physical, but contributing in all facets.
“You’re all talking about our fourth line being our fourth line, but they’re more than our fourth line. … they score,” Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The fourth line as an energy line, those days are gone. The hockey is too good.
“Your fourth line needs to contribute and, boy, ours has come through in spades.”