Kings Coach Darryl Sutter watches the action against the Ducks earlier… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
ST. LOUIS -- So many moments this season have been about the Kings’ Darryl Sutter returning to face teams he once coached. Chicago, San Jose, and, naturally, Calgary.
Now comes a playoff series against a once-hated rival: the Blues. There were many bitter wars back in the days when Sutter, the captain, played for Chicago against his older brother Brian, who was the captain of the Blues.
Sutter, taking a walk down memory lane, recalled on Saturday that he and Brian didn’t talk to each other in the lead-up to their games because the atmosphere was so intense and heated in the divisional rivalry.
In fact, Sutter made his debut in the NHL playoffs against the Blues, in the 1979-80 season. That’s when the first round was only five games and the Blackhawks swept the Blues, 3-0. The third game was at the old Checkerdome (That’s what the St. Louis Arena was named when Ralston Purina owned the Blues from 1977 to 1983. The building was demolished in 1999.), and Sutter spoke about playing there.
“You’re just young and you're the same way,” Sutter said. “You just want to play. It was different back then. There wasn’t video and all that stuff, right?”
Sutter was talking after Saturday’s morning skate and how to calm his younger, less-experienced players before Game 1.
“You try to make sure you don’t have players that are like that because I remember as a young player how it felt,” he said. "Nervous is good. But just in the right way.”
The lengthy time off between playoff series has been challenging for both coaches. The Blues clinched their series against the Sharks on April 21, and the Kings won their first round against the Canucks the next day.
“I'm tired of talking,” Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Now I know what the campaign trail feels like. I can hardly wait for the election tonight.”
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