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Darryl Sutter and the Kings: Is this the year both capture their first Stanley Cup?

by Mike Kalinowski / Los Angeles Kings
Darryl Sutter replaced Terry Murray as the Los Angeles Kings head coach on December 17, 2011.  Under difficult circumstances, he steered the Kings through rough waters and led the franchise to its third straight appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

As the NHL’s second season begins, Darryl and the Kings have one thing in common:  both are still searching for their first Stanley Cup Championship. 

Born on August 19, 1958, Darryl Sutter is one of seven brothers to grow up playing hockey on a farm in tiny Viking, Alberta, Canada. 

The Sutter family became one of the most famous families in the National Hockey League in the 1970’s and 1980’s as six of the seven brothers (Darryl, Brent, Brian, Duane, Rich and Ron) went on to play in the NHL.  A seventh brother named Gary also played hockey, but rather than making his living as a hockey player, he instead decided to stay at home to work on the family farm.  

Collectively, the six Sutters who played in the NHL combined to play over 5,000 NHL games.  The group also captured a total of Six Stanley Cup championships (Duane won four Cups and Brent won two; all six Cups were won with the New York Islanders). 

Of the six brothers, four also went on to become coaches and general managers in the NHL (Darryl, Brian, Duane and Brent). 

Darryl was the lowest draft pick of the family, waiting until the 11th round, 179th overall, before being selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1978 NHL Entry Draft.

As a player, Darryl spent five years in the minor leagues, including a year in Japan, where he was rookie of the year.  In his NHL career as a player, Darryl scored 279 points (161-118=279) in 406 career regular season games – all with the Blackhawks. 

The well-respected, hard-working left winger also added 43 points (24-19=43) in 51 playoffs games with the Blackhawks.  Darryl was never an All-Star and never won the Stanley Cup as a player, but he served as captain of the Blackhawks for five seasons (1982-87). 

Darryl as a 26-year-old led the Blackhawks to the 1985 Western Conference Finals where Chicago lost to the Edmonton Oilers - the eventual Cup Champions – 4 games to 2.  During that 1985 playoff run, Darryl led his team with 12 playoff goals and tied for third on the team with 19 total points (12-7=19) in 15 postseason games.

Darryl’s Blackhawks also lost to the Oilers in the 1983 Western Conference Finals.  As a 24-year-old, Darryl tied for sixth on the team with 10 points (4-6=10) in 13 postseason games. 

Darryl's playing career was cut short by injuries in 1987, after which he turned to coaching.

Darryl’s rookie season as a head coach was with the Saginaw Hawks of the International Hockey League in 1988-89.  He led the Hawks to a second place finish in their division before losing in the first round of the playoffs. 

From there, Darryl was hired to coach the IHL’s Indianapolis Ice in 1989-90.  Darryl experienced great success with the Ice as he led the team to 53 regular season wins and the IHL’s Turner Cup championship. 

Darryl began his NHL coaching career with the Blackhawks in 1992-93.  He’s also served as head coach of the San Jose Sharks (1997-03) and the Calgary Flames (2003-06) during his 12 seasons behind a bench in the NHL and he reached the pinnacle of coaching when he led the Flames to a surprising run to the 7th game of the Stanley Cup Finals as both the coach and general manager of that team in 2003–04. 

Including this season, Darryl has led his team to the Stanley Cup playoffs 11 times in 12 seasons.  His resume includes over 1,000 games of coaching experience in the NHL (regular season and postseason included). 

Will Darryl and the Kings finally capture that elusive Stanley Cup Championship?  Only Time will tell but the journey is off to a good start!
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