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Sutter’s L.A. decision, big ice, and the NHL’s shootout sickness

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Darryl Sutter has salvaged struggling teams as a coach, but his firebreathing approach takes a toll. (David E. Klutho/SI)

By Stu Hackel

UPDATED, DEC. 24: It appears that former Flames coach and GM Darryl Sutter has now decided to join the Kings as their new bench boss, according to Rich Hammond, who is the club’s official blogger. All that is preventing Sutter from taking over is immigration issues that are expected to be ironed out early this week, when it will become official. Is this a good hire?

Not according to Eric Francis of The Calgary Sun. Francis notes that when Sutter took over coaching the Sharks in the late ’90s under then-GM Dean Lombardi, the team’s record improved for five consecutive seasons. Then, when Sutter took over as the Flames’ coach, he turned that franchise around as well, “pushing a rag-tag bunch of muckers to within one game of the Stanley Cup Final in 2004.”

But Francis adds, “In Calgary, his act as a miserable taskmaster who couldn’t differentiate between winning and being a human being, wore thin with the players who were thrilled he finally booted himself upstairs to be GM.

“The question is, can his ball-breaking, reign-of-terror approach work in today’s NHL?

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  • Published On Dec 15, 2011
  • Flickering Flames taking heat in Calgary

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    Time may be running out on coach Brent Sutter (left), who has been trying to spark an aging squad that’s steeped in mediocrity. (Gerry Thomas/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the NHL’s self-immolating franchise, the Calgary Flames.

    There are pretty bad stories surrounding some NHL clubs right now. The New York Islanders’ team photo could be the dictionary illustration for the word “woeful.” The Toronto Maple Leafs, who last night lost for the 16th time in their last 20 games, were called “the worst team $1 billion can buy” in The Globe and Mail. The New Jersey Devils, from whom much was expected, seem to have fallen into a sinkhole from which they cannot extricate themselves.

    The Flames, who this morning reside in the Western Conference basement, seem intent on joining those three teams. Calgary’s current situation is made all the more glum by the recent play of their bitter provincial rival, the despised Edmonton Oilers, who just completed a three-game sweep of Canada’s eastern teams (using a different goaltender in each victory) and whose infant players are showing the first signs of growth (which is the only conclusion you can come to when 18-year-old top draft choice Taylor Hall gets booed in Montreal).

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  • Published On Dec 03, 2010
  • Rookie ruffles Flyer feathers

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    Canadiens blueliner P.K. Subban (left) did not endear himself to the Flyers on Tuesday night. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    Is Montreal rookie P.K. Subban too cocky? Flyers captain Mike Richards thinks so, but you have to wonder if he would be as critical of the brash defenseman, who is playing a leading role for the Canadiens, if Subban were wearing orange, black and white instead of bleu, blanc et rouge.

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  • Published On Nov 17, 2010


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