I just got back from the celebration in the streets after the Los Angeles Kings won the 2014 Stanley Cup. It was a grueling playoff season and the victory was well deserved. The New York Rangers, despite being blessed with a great goalie and a relentless team, could only manage one win, in game 4 at Madison Square that prevented the Kings from making a clean sweep.
That forced the series back to Los Angeles. Bitten once, no one claimed the Kings would win it that night, but the feeling was still strong. It felt right. Win at home and close it out.
The Rangers scored first and took some wind out of the home crowd. But the 2014 Kings had an uncanny ability to come back. Darryl Sutter, the coach, has a way to reset their patterns, their thinking, their outlook, something. They come back as almost a new team.
Sure enough, they tied up the game at 2-2. It went to a 2nd overtime, the players visibly exhausted, still pushing as hard as possible. Finally, the Kings scored and it was done. They captured the Stanley Cup they last won two years previously when they beat the New Jersey Devils in 2012. The only way the Kings can win the Stanley Cup, apparently, is to play a team in NY/NJ. “Hey, I got your Stanley Cup right here, OH!”
I was able to score a coveted one-on-one interview with Mr. Sutter, legendary for his short, dry, cryptic answers for the media at press conferences. I was confident my skills as a talented comedian and interviewer would open him up. We spoke just outside the dressing room after the game at Staples Center.
“Congratulations, Mr. Sutter, on your second Stanley Cup win in two years. How does it feel?”
“You are now in an exclusive club of coaches over the years that can boast two or more Stanley Cup wins. There are only 15 coaches that were able to pull that off in the history of the NHL.”
“You have some an uncanny talent for getting the team to rally and come from behind. You won the first three playoffs series this year in Game 7 on the road. Amazing. What do you say to them to make that happen?”
“Mr. Sutter, what’s next for you now that the season is over?”
“Excellent, while I have you here, can you comment on the demise of American Idol. What do you attribute to the ratings decline? The horrible singing or the annoying judges?”
“Looking at politics, now, Mr. Sutter, some people say Obama needs to show more of his macho side much like Russia’s Putin, you know, hunting, fishing and riding horses through the drive-thru of the McDonald’s. What do you think?”
“Sir, as you know, performance-enhancing drugs are a major concern in professional sports. Some hockey officials are calling for a ban on maple syrup, Canadian bacon and Molson beer, saying these substances are being used by hockey players to increase their stamina and strength. Your opinion?
“Mr. Sutter, thank you for your time. Good luck next year on your quest for a three-peat.”
Well, at least it was more than one word.