Who won and who lost Sunday's
Chris Sutter, who will be 22 in March, has Down syndrome. It has never limited his ability to love or to lift those around him, whether he's dancing during Kings games — a familiar sight on the Staples Center video screen — or chatting in the locker room. He was excited about this long before he arrived in Columbus and wasn't going to waste a moment.
"He's gotten wound up for a couple days," Darryl Sutter said before the festivities began. "He won't be in autograph mode — he'll be in visiting mode. He likes to sit down and visit."
Chris visited with players during Saturday's skills contests and shared the bench with his dad as well as with Kings assistant coach Davis Payne and the team's equipment managers, Darren Granger and Dana Bryson. Granger's and Bryson's sons made the trip too. It created a family atmosphere, especially for the Kings' delegation, but Chris also counted
"I had a great time," said Chris, the youngest of Darryl and Wanda Sutter's three children. "It was a fun weekend for me. I had a great time with my dad. It was a fun three days here."
He singled out Jonathan Toews and rightly so, as the
Chris said it didn't matter that his dad's team lost. He wanted to "just have fun and be supportive," and he succeeded. "I found out about the players," he said. "I know their names."
And they know his. "He made us laugh a lot. It was great to have him around the room," Kings and Team Foligno defenseman
For Kings center Anze Kopitar, having his father, Matjaz here this weekend and having Doughty as a teammate were among the highlights. "I never had an All-Star game with a teammate before," said Kopitar, one of only three skaters who didn't record a point in the game. He added that it was "pretty cool" to share the occasion with the rest of the Kings' contingent, "and Chris most importantly, of course. It was nice to see Chris running around here, enjoying himself."
Sutter agreed to coach on the condition that his family, assistants and equipment managers also went. It was his best decision of the weekend, more meaningful than the decisions he made in putting defense pairs and lines together for a glorified game of shinny in which players freewheeled without fear of being checked and no hits were delivered.
Sutter quit his job as coach of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1995 to spend more time with Chris and was out of coaching for two years before he was hired in San Jose, where he worked with then-
"I think it's worked out really well," Darryl Sutter said. "I tell him he's the luckiest boy on Earth because he gets all the time he wants in California and all the time he wants back on the farm."
He was the luckiest boy on Earth on Sunday. "It was awesome," Chris said.
Forget the goals but remember him, with his arm draped over Ryan's shoulder and his big grin in the team photo and remember this All-Star game as a success in a way few of these ever turn out to be.