Darryl Sutter was running late for his first postgame media scrum in five years. The joke floating among reporters waiting inside Staples Center was that Sutter, the Los Angeles Kings' new coach, was phoning home to Alberta to check up on his cows.
Sutter's debut game last Thursday was a success, a 3-2 shootout victory over rival Anaheim. And while Sutter's return from the farm grabbed headlines in the US and Canada, he wasn't the most important addition to the Kings' bench last week.
Center Mike Richards had missed the previous eight games with a concussion -- a stretch during which the Kings went 2-6-0, fired head coach Terry Murray, replaced him with assistant coach John Stevens on an interim basis, then hired Sutter away from the Calgary Flames' front office.
A healthy Richards shook off the turmoil, scoring goals against the Ducks on Thursday and again the next night in San Jose -- the Kings' only goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Sharks. They were Richards' team-leading 12...