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This article was published 21/12/2011 (2881 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Although Darryl Sutter hasn't coached in the NHL since the 2005-06 season, he didn't need much time to get back into the swing of things on his first day with the Los Angeles Kings.
Sutter ran his first practice Wednesday morning at the club's training facility after a meeting with the players, then was introduced to the media during a news conference at a nearby hotel and said: "I feel like I coached yesterday."
A stern, no-nonsense coach known for his confrontational demeanour and perpetual scowl behind the bench during his 12 previous seasons with Chicago, San Jose and Calgary, Sutter has been known to criticize his players in post-game sessions with the media. He did it once with Flames defenceman Andrew Ference after a 4-1 loss to the Kings in Los Angeles, referring to him as "a borderline competitor for us for a number of games."
"Hopefully it jump-starts them," Sutter said. "One thing that hasn't changed in the game and never will is (the importance of) hustle. It's men playing a boy's game, and there is some emotion involved in it. I mean, I don't think there's a lack of emotion here at all. But you have to get a consistent pattern of it. That's what I have to get out of them, and I know I can."
The Kings are one of six teams to make a coaching change since the start of the season, and the only one that needed an interim coach to bridge the gap until the replacement came on. John Stevens was 2-2 after the dismissal of Terry Murray, who was one victory shy of 500 when he got the boot on Dec. 12. Sutter's debut will be tonight at Staples Center against Anaheim. The Ducks fired Randy Carlyle immediately following their game on Nov. 31 and replaced him with former Washington coach Bruce Boudreau, the only one to be fired this season and hired by another club.
"Now that Terry's gone, we have to move on," captain Dustin Brown said. "Some of us have been together four, five, six years — and Darryl's coming in brand new and doesn't know any of us. But I don't think it's going to be that difficult.
"It's one thing if you're going to bring in a new coach and he's going to bring in a whole new system. Then it could be really difficult, because then you're thinking about what you have to do on the ice — as opposed to reacting," Brown added. "As Darryl said to us, everything's going to be the same in terms of our system and our personnel. It's our attitude that's going to have to be the difference-maker."
Brown hasn't had enough time to do any advance scouting of his own on his new coach with other players around the league, but did have a chance to talk with one of Sutter's former players — teammate Scott Thornton — after scoring the deciding goal in Monday's 3-2 shootout win at Toronto.
"Scott said he hated him when he played for him. But looking back, he said it was some of the best hockey he's played as a professional," Brown said.
— The Associated Press