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Nicholls on Sutter: “I don’t think people realize how smart he really is”

May 29, 2012, 11:15 PM EDT

Darryl Sutter Getty Images

When the writing was on the wall that the Los Angeles Kings would make a coaching change, just about everyone expected GM Dean Lombardi to tab Darryl Sutter. Lombardi’s back was up against the wall, but that turned out to be a great decision.

Sutter is known for his plain press conferences, yet The Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek’s profile reveals a coach who might not be as simple as he seems. Assistant coach Bernie Nicholls is one of the many who believes that there is more than meets the eye (and/or ears).

“When Darryl got here, one of the first things he said was, ‘I’m not a video guy,’ “ Nicholls said. “Geez, these guys do more video than when Roger Neilson was coaching. But it’s all teaching.”

“You know we had that NHL 36 [TV show]. Darryl wouldn’t let them in the dressing because he hates cameras, but I really wish he would have let them in to see him go, because he’s amazing. I don’t think people realize how smart he really is. … He’s taught these guys so much, and he’s so prepared. He doesn’t let one thing get by him.”

Much like Ken Hitchcock with the St. Louis Blues, it seems like players are responding to his personal touch as much as his knowledge of X’s and O’s. Jarret Stoll said that he appreciates the fact that Sutter “tells it like it is” but also that he really seems to “care.”

“He almost treats us as his own kids,” Stoll said. “He’ll tap you on the arm and he’ll say, ‘How are you doing today? Everything okay? How’s your family?’ “He cares. He really cares.”

It almost sounds like he might smile at them from time to time, even.

  1. geezgtfo - May 29, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    Smart or has a team with the best goalie and a team with the most 20+ goals scorers for more season then not. Id say hes working with a full deck of cards and the royal flush in the NHL when you look at the teams. it has very little to do with him

    • crosberries - May 30, 2012 at 12:50 AM

      Umm where you paying attention to the start of their season???

  2. blomfeld - May 30, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    SUTTER = GENIUS !

    aka “Einstein” or “someone very special” … GO KINGS GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    • socalphilip - May 30, 2012 at 7:05 PM

      amen to that!

  3. endocott - May 30, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    When did Nicholls become an assistant coach?

    • Doesnotmatter - May 30, 2012 at 3:39 AM

      not yet.

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