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Kings update: Darryl Sutter's hiring official. First game vs. Ducks

December 20, 2011 | 10:55 am

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The Darryl Sutter Era officially opened for business.

Sutter will conduct his first practice as the Kings’ head coach Wednesday morning, followed by a news conference in the afternoon in El Segundo, according to the team, in making his appointment official on Tuesday.

Other dates to circle: His first game behind the King bench will be Thursday at Staples Center against the Ducks. Sutter, 53, coached three NHL teams, the Sharks, the Flames and the Blackhawks; and was general manager of Calgary until Dec. 28, 2010.The Kings play at San Jose on Friday and at Calgary on Jan. 14.

Sutter’s head coaching record is 409-320-131 in 860 regular-season games. The Flames lost in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, and Sutter was the coach when the Blackhawks reached the Western Conference Finals in 1995.

Sutter has not commented publicly since resigning in Calgary, and even long-time associates have not heard much from him during his absence from the NHL.

Ducks General Manager Bob Murray not only played with Sutter when they were in Chicago but he played for Sutter in Saginaw (Mich.) of the International Hockey League in 1988-89.

“I remember when he just retired [from playing] and was coaching for us in Saginaw. I got sent to the minors as a 34-year-old, 35-year-old,” Murray said in an interview with The Times. “He just looked at me and said, ‘I just want to win.’ It was great for me at that point in time in my career.

“ ‘I’m going to play you. Just want to win. Go.’ ”

Murray smiled and shrugged, and said, “OK.”

He thought the sabbatical from the game wasn’t the worst thing in the world for Sutter.

“Sometimes it’s not bad for all of us who have been in this game so long to take a step back, get refreshed,” Murray said. “Take a fresh look at things.

“I just think he’s a great coach. It’s a good mix there. He’s driven, and he’ll drive the players. He’s got compassion.”

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--Lisa Dillman

 Photo: Darryl Sutter in April 2010. Credit: Jeff McIntosh / Associated Press

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