Darryl Sutter didn’t coach Craig Berube for a lengthy period in Calgary, but it was long enough that Berube created a lasting and positive impression on Sutter.
Berube, who played for 17 seasons in the NHL, was nearing the end of his playing career when Sutter arrived in Calgary, and one of their early discussions involved the definition of his role with the Flames. Sutter was hired as Flames head coach in late 2002.
“When I went to Calgary in December, [Berube] was still on that team and then I didn’t play him that much,” said Sutter, the Kings’ coach. “We talked about it right away. He was more like ‘Whatever you want me to do. If you want me to play, I’ll play. If you want me to coach, I’ll coach.’ That was his role already.”
Sutter was proud of Berube when he was first elevated to head coach in Philadelphia in October after the Flyers started 0-3-0. Berube, for his part, has cited Sutter as a key influence.
The Flyers, who play the visiting Kings on Monday, are the talk of the NHL and happen to be on a stellar run, having won five straight games. They’ve lost two games in March, once in regulation and the other in overtime.
“You want them young guys to do good. Not just come in and be a one- or two-year [coach],” Sutter said. “That’s the problem in the NHL, a lot of these guys are given, well, not given but they get these head coaching opportunities. And they want the contract. So instead of taking the right situation, they just take the job
"…A head coach, you know the guys who are really strong bench coaches. You know the guys who are strong locker-room guys. You know those guys. There’s only a handful of ‘em.”
Berube started his playing career with the Flyers. And as everyone knows: once a Flyer, always a Flyer.
“I had him at the end,” Sutter said. “Ron and Richie [Sutter, brothers of the Kings coach], they moved all over, but they were Flyers. They were Flyers. A guy like (Berube), he’d been around.... To be elevated to that position from his own team, I’m proud of him.”
Kings forward Jeff Carter started his NHL career in Philadelphia and will be going back to play there for the first time since the Flyers traded him in summer 2011.
He was sent to Columbus and played 39 games for the Blue Jackets before being traded to the Kings on Feb. 23, 2012. Carter has been the target of incessant booing in Columbus when the Kings have played there.
Carter downplayed the looming game in Philadelphia.
“It is what it is. It’s been three years since I left there,” Carter said after the Kings’ 4-0 win on Saturday against Florida.
“It’s not a big deal, really. It’s a big game for both teams. They’ve been playing real well and we’ve started to get things going here. It should be a lot of fun though.”
When: 4 PDT.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 1150.
Etc.: Kings captain Dustin Brown, injured in the second period in the win over Florida, did not travel with the team Saturday to Philadelphia after the game. Kings assistant general manager Rob Blake said by email Sunday morning that Brown was going to see a doctor and that if “everything was good, he will fly in later today.”