There are a few staples of a hockey rink: you have the benches, the ice of course, an entrance for the zamboni and the penalty boxes. It's that last item that has been there for decades and decades that has LA Kings coach Darryl Sutter a bit perplexed.
Mainly, Sutter doesn't quite see the need for the sin bin anymore. The way he sees it, those are the best seats in the house going to waste.
In what can only be described as a quintessential Sutterism, here is what the Kings coach had to say in his address with the media on Wednesday via the LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen.
"Still, it amazes me that's what they call it -- the penalty box. Like, what is that, the 'penalty box?' They should take the penalty box out, because you think about how much time there actually is sitting in the penalty box now, it's about 12 minutes total a game, right? 12 minutes. It used to be they had a guy with a suit, and if you got a penalty, and you got a penalty, that guy sat between you, right? Now they have two boxes. You go to the box. It's like Steve McQueen, right? They should sell those seats ... there are so few penalties now. Why don't they just say, 'OK, you've got to sit on the bench,' or, 'You've got to sit on their bench for two minutes.' I don't get that. They've got like four guys sitting over there, and room for like six other people to sit. They're the best seats in the house, right at center ice. Like, if it was a football game, then that's the best seat. I don't get that [any] more. Really, it's like a three-penalty-team a game now. Why do they make that deal? Why do they get that big place for there? When I was coaching Brett in novice when he was little back home, and he'd get penalties, I'd go, 'Brett, you're little. Why do you go over there and sit? Why do you want to go there?' He says, 'I can see better from there.' [Reporter: How old was he?] He was just little. It makes sense, right? He could see better."
"When you think about it, I'm probably right for once."
Well that, that is something. Sutter essentially just did his own Jerry Seinfeld routine: "And what's the deal with penalty boxes?"
In one response to a question about players taking penalties Sutter managed to bring up Steve McQueen, football, great seats and tell a story about son Brett Sutter. There are few coaches in the league that could pull that off and none quite as well as Darryl.
All the while he is asking a somewhat valid question, he indeed might be right for once on this. Of course the most obvious answer is tradition and it makes the enforcing penalties a heck of a lot easier by having the offending player in the box across the ice. But think about the quality seats going to waste here. At least Sutter is thinking about the fans.
Perhaps the best suggestion of all is the one where Sutter says maybe you have the offending party sit on the opposing bench during the penalty. Can you imagine that? That might be the greatest deterrent to penalties ever thought of. Imagine a player makes a bad hit and is given a penalty but isn't given a game misconduct. For the next several minutes he has to sit on the opponent's bench in what would be a hornet's nest. The chirping would be relentless. Of course it might spawn fights on the bench with a severely outnumbered player. That might backfire.
There are pretty much two words that sum up Sutter's thoughts on this matter: Nailed it! (OK, this is just an excuse for me to use this .GIF again.)