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Los Angeles Kings Coach Darryl Sutter and the fine art of Zen

June 06, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • Kings Coach Darryl Sutter probably has never been called "Zen" before the team's current playoff run.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter probably has never been called "Zen"… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)

Just a slice of awesome zen at Wednesday's morning skate, filling the air with anticipation at Staples Center before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Kings and the Devils. The Kings lead the best-of-seven series, three games to none, and could win their first Stanley Cup tonight.

Kings left wing Dustin Penner had said before Game 1 in Newark that it felt like Christmas morning.

If so, then how about this?

"If there was a better holiday than Christmas, it would be today," Penner said.

A few minutes later down the hallway, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter wrapped up his brief session with reporters with his favorite word, saying: "Awesome."

That was more predictable than his exchange with a local radio personality, who has hopped on the Kings' bandwagon with both feet, now that the Lakers are in hiatus. He has been calling Sutter "Zen."

Now it's one thing to do that with Phil Jackson, the former Lakers coach. But it's highly doubtful Sutter was ever called Zen when he was cleaning up after the animals in the barn on his farm in Viking, Canada, or when he was general manager and coach in Calgary.

(In fact, the wittiest description of Sutter came from Calgary Herald columnist George Johnson, who calls Sutter "The Jolly Rancher.")

Sutter said he didn't know what Zen was and joked, saying: "Is it like hot yoga?"

The Kings have been diligent about limiting outside distractions during the playoffs.

"I think we've done a good job of that right from the start," Sutter said. "Most of the kids hadn't been through this at all, the Final, the playoffs, the whole procedure of it, the process. They've done a good job of getting in that swing.

"At the same time, you want them to enjoy the challenge of it, because for lots of them, as I've said, it's the first time, last time, only time."

Sutter, who has coached in two previous Finals, was asked about what he had been doing since Game 3.

"Went to the rink, did our normal work," Sutter said. "Went to the hotel last night, had a good sleep. Drank my pail of coffee this morning, ready to go."

No one asked whether it was decaf.


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