After Kings GM Dean Lombardi confirmed players locked Darryl Sutter out of the dressing room following a game in early February, team captain Dustin Brown tried to put the incident in perspective.
“It’s been blown a little out of proportion,” Brown said during Monday’s end-of-year media availability, per Frozen Royalty. “At the end of the day, it’s about the 20 guys in the room.
“It wasn’t that big of a deal when it happened. It’s just us being a group of guys going through it together. Sometimes, that’s what you need.”
While initial reactions to the story focused on a potential mutiny, comments from Lombardi and Brown suggest it was more an isolated act of frustration more than anything else. L.A. had a myriad of problems that derailed its campaign — some on ice, some off — and, for a team accustomed to winning, losing brought out their worst.
And that’s partly why the players like Sutter.
He’s a demanding coach, but his style gets results — two Stanley Cups and a Western Conference Final appearance in three years, specifically.
Brown also suggested Sutter’s style rubbed off on the players to the point where they adopted some of his personality. In that regard, locking him out of the room wasn’t “hey, get outta here” — it was “hey, we got this.”
“Darryl pushes us, but he also allows us to push back,” Brown explained. “Ultimately, that’s what creates a winning environment. We didn’t have that prior to Darryl, quite honestly.
“He’s demanding, but in return we become more demanding of each other.”