The players will have the final say in what team wins the Stanley Cup, but coaching will be a factor. A Stanley Cup win would be a great result for either coach considering they’re both in their first seasons with their respective teams.
Darryl Sutter, now 53 years old, was born in Viking, Alberta and is part of a family that boasts numerous NHL players. Sutter was drafted 179th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1978 NHL draft. As a forward with the Blackhawks, Sutter registered 279 points in 406 regular season games and 43 points in 51 playoff games.
Sutter had previous success coaching both the San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames. Under Sutter, the Sharks made the playoffs in five straight seasons between 1998 and 2002. In Calgary, Sutter took the Flames to the Stanley Cup final in 2004 and led them to a division title in 2006.
Sutter took over for Andy Murray as the Kings’ head coach this past December. Sutter once again was teamed up with Dean Lombardi, his former boss in San Jose. Sutter took a struggling, underachieving team and guided them to a 25-13-11 record in 49 games.
Sutter is an intelligent, quiet individual who brings a tough, no nonsense style to coaching. He is a blue-collar guy who expects a blue-collar effort from all his players, including his stars. Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty are just a few examples of players that Sutter has brought out the best in. The Kings play physical, have a strong forecheck and know what it takes to defend a lead.
Sutter has led the Kings to a 12-2 record in the playoffs, making them favourites to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.
What’s left to improve? Jeff Carter has been invisible for most of the postseason aside from a hat trick in Game 2 versus the Coyotes. If Sutter can get Carter going in the final, he could add to an already lethal offense.
Deboer was born in Dunville, Ontario and will turn 44 years old on June 13th—the day that Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final is scheduled to be played. Deboer played for the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL for four seasons and was drafted 237th overall in the 1988 NHL draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Although Deboer didn’t play in the NHL, he did spend three seasons with the Milwaukee Admirals of the IHL.
After coaching the Plymouth Whalers for six seasons and back-to-back OHL championship appearances, Deboer moved on to coach the Kitchener Rangers. In his second year as Kitchener’s head coach, Deboer and the Rangers led by captain Mike Richards, won the OHL Championship and the Memorial Cup.
Deboer’s first NHL head coaching job was with the Florida Panthers. For three seasons, from 2009 to 2011, Deboer was behind the Florida bench, but each year the Panthers failed to make the playoffs. Deboer was hired in July by Devils’ GM Lou Lamoriello and led the team to a 48-28-6 record this season. The Devils play in the extremely competitive Atlantic Division with the Rangers, Penguins and Flyers, making their 102 point season all the more impressive.
Deboer has taken a team known for its trapping system and boring defensive play and pushed it to perform offensively. Deboer has been able to get significant contributions from his forwards, whether its star veterans like Ilya Kovalchuk or rookies like Adam Henrique. The Devils’ strong offensive play has come as the team continues to play well defensively. The Devils’ 2.50 goals-against average was good for 9th in the NHL this season.
What’s left to improve? The Devils’ penalty kill has struggled throughout the playoffs, killing off only 74.2 percent of the team’s penalties. Shutting out a weak Kings’ power play could be the difference in the Stanley Cup finals.
Advantage: Darryl Sutter
Both Sutter and Doboer have done a brilliant job coaching their teams to this point. It’s Sutter’s NHL experience that gives him a slight edge over Deboer. Sutter has over 10 years of NHL head coaching experience, including a trip to the finals in 2004. Now it’s up to the Kings’ players to do what the Flames couldn’t in 2004. Not only defeat the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the west, but win the Stanley Cup as well.