We've known for a few days that Kings Coach Darryl Sutter will coach one of the teams at the NHL All-Star game. On Friday the league made his appointment official and also announced that his opposition behind the bench will be Peter Laviolette of the league-leading Nashville Predators.
According to the league, under its All-Star selection process — which can only be described as very loose — the head coach of the team with the highest possible points percentage through games of the halfway point of the regular season earns the right to coach one of the teams. The NHL schedule will reach its midway point on Saturday.
Laviolette is in his first season coaching the Predators, who have a winning percentage of .725 (points gained divided by possible points) and a record of 27-9-4. Its leading position won't be affected by the outcome of Saturday's games.
Laviolette will bring his coaching staff, as Sutter will bring his. The game will be played Jan. 25 in Columbus.
This will be Sutter's first All-Star coaching appearance but it will be the second for Laviolette. He shared the coaching duties with Alain Vigneault, then of Vancouver, at the 2011 All-Star game.
Because there's no All-Star game in Olympic years — and because of the lockout that delayed the start of the 2012-13 season — this will be the first NHL All-Star game since 2012. The format again will be modeled after fantasy league drafts, with two players designated as captains and being responsible for choosing their rosters regardless of which conference or team those players usually play for.