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Kings heading to Bakersfield for preseason opener

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter will make a return to Bakersfield for a preseason game Monday.

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter will make a return to Bakersfield for a preseason game Monday.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

It seems as though the Kings’ Darryl Sutter has been nearly everywhere.

Like one of his favorites, Johnny Cash, once sang:

“I’ve been everywhere, man.”

We’re not sure about Winnemucca, Nev. But the longtime coach has been to Bakersfield -- the site of the Kings’ exhibition opener Monday -- for a hockey game. And as he often does, Sutter had a good story to pass along about an earlier trip there back when he coached the Sharks.

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“We played Los Angeles in an exhibition game, San Jose and Los Angeles,” he said. “You’ll have to ask [when]. We only ended up playing two periods. The plant went down and the ice was melting.

“I can’t remember what year it was. I’m sure the players liked it. Only had to play two periods.”

Hopefully, they’ll manage to get in all three at Rabobank Arena when the Kings play Arizona at 7 p.m. Bakersfield happens to be the new American Hockey League affiliate for the Edmonton Oilers.

This early training camp look has been different for Sutter. There have been scrimmages the first three days of camp, which he said was a first for him as an NHL coach.

Sutter has been able to get a good early look at the newcomers, including Christian Ehrhoff, who signed as a free agent in August. The offensive-minded defenseman has been hit with injuries, including concussion issues, in recent years and the pressure of living up to a hefty contract in Buffalo, and an eventual buyout.

But Sutter remembers his contributions in Vancouver. With the Canucks, Ehrhoff had a career-high 50 points in 2010-11, the season in which Vancouver lost to Boston in the Stanley Cup Final.

“He’s a good skater, so that’s not something that went away from his game,” Sutter said. “That’s the strength of his game… My memory of him is more Vancouver. That’s how I see him, as a Canuck. Quite honestly, you look at it, those were his big years too.”

Said Ehrhoff, who was in Pittsburgh last season: “I have to prove that I’m healthy again and I can play up to my potential again, what I’ve showed in the past. I think everybody, management and coaches, know what I can do. It’s just up to me to go out and show it.”

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