What has been rumored almost from the time the Los Angeles Kings dismissed Terry Murray as coach on Dec. 12 became official Tuesday when the team announced Darryl Sutter will take over behind the bench.
Sutter will begin his head coaching duties with the Kings when they take the ice for practice on Wednesday morning. A press conference will be held at 1 p.m. Pacific Time. Sutter's first game as coach will be Thursday night at home against the Anaheim Ducks.
Interim coach John Stevens led the Kings to a 2-2-0 record, including a 3-2 shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider reporter earlier this week that Stevens will be kept on as an assistant at least through the end of the season, and that Sutter has been in touch with management to get scouting reports on the Kings' personnel.
Sutter has spent 11 seasons as an NHL coach with Chicago, San Jose and most recently in Calgary. He also served as the general manager of the Flames until he resigned in Dec. 28, 2010. He is 409-320-101-30 in 860 games as an NHL coach and led the Flames to the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, in which they lost to Tampa Bay in seven games.
Sutter's teams have qualified for the playoffs in 10 of his 11 seasons.
The Kings lost to San Jose in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, but general manager Dean Lombardi traded for Mike Richards and signed Simon Gagne during the summer and expectations increased in Los Angeles. A slow start to the season has been compounded by the team's inability to score despite the offensive upgrades -- the Kings are last in the NHL with an average of 2.12 goals per game.
Lombardi fired Murray after a four-game losing streak dropped the Kings to 13-13-4 and 12th place in the Western Conference.