Flames might be tuning out old-school Sutter approach
While the Flames have head coach Darryl Sutter signed to a two-year contract extension after this season, all is not well in Calgary. The Flames are in a fight for a Western Conference wild card spot, Jonathan Huberdeau's production has fallen off a cliff from last year and there are rumours of a 'negative' atmosphere inside the team. Calgary's ownership appear committed to Sutter but how long will the Stanley Cup-winning coach last into next season?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: And they don't need any more money kind of handcuffing them into next year and years beyond. And if the defense is bad on a team that still, as of this recording, has Darryl Sutter as their head coach, ooh, that's not going to go well, no, no. Darryl Sutter would have to go if that's the case.
OMAR: When did he get extended again?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Like, during--
OMAR: For how long?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Two years, before the beginning of this season, I think during training camp, Darryl Sutter, I mean.
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: I think Darryl Sutter-- Darryl Sutter's the kind of coach, cut from the cloth of the old school coaches where players tune them out after a certain time. I think he's-- I think you're running into the end of the Sutter era once again.
Darryl Sutter can't coach a modern NHL team for five, six, seven, eight years before pissing off his locker room. Like guys like him, Mike Keenan, do eventually. So I will not be surprised if we hear at some point next year, Darryl Sutter is getting the ax in Calgary.
SAM CHANG: I was surprised when they hired him.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: I think it was one of those-- maybe get out of jail is not the right term for it. But I think when the Flames needed a coach, they were just like, OK, fine, we're just going to do this one, just break glass in case of emergency type of deal. And it worked for a little bit.
But it just-- just with the roster he has now where you have Huberdeau, whose pace has fallen off, MacKenzie Weegar has, what, 1 goal to his name? And he was sold as a good two-way defenseman.
OMAR: That's not being talked about enough, in my opinion.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: I think his defensive metrics-- and he looked good defensively at times. But this guy was supposed to produce more offensively. And he knows it too.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: But, yeah, I just-- you can't tell me, with all these pieces that are there this is the result that you get? In a different situation-- and I've said this on different podcasts. In a different situation where Daryl Sutter is not extended, the move to do is to let him go. And you probably might have done that already by now because you can't afford to have a coach kind of mess it up.
But you just extended him. And he also-- not only is he in Calgary. People-- I mean, it feels like he has this power, this grip on the organization that, at the very least, he's probably not going to lose his job before the extension.
Look, if we end up being wrong, this clip ends up going out tomorrow, and Darryl Sutter-- I have to run to the Saddledome for a press conference about who the interim coach is going to be, look, we'll address it. I'll be like, hey, I was wrong.
SAM CHANG: Who would you-- who do you think should be the Flames coach instead?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: I mean--
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: There are six Sutters.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: [LAUGHS]
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Three of them of-- you know what's funny?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Bro, bro.
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Three Sutters have coached the Flames, three of-- which is really weird. Yeah, you've had Darryl who's coached the Flames. You've had Ryan coach Calgary in the '90s. And then you had Brent. How do we know-- [SPEAKING QUICKLY]-- say, yo, hey, Ryan, want to come back?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: There's a Sutter-- there's a Sutter--
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Want to come back one more time?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: There's a Sutter--
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Yo, Rich, want to--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: [LAUGHS] There's a Sutter in the-- on the AHL-- it's Brent-- which one is it? He's the captain of the AHL team.
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Brent, Brent Sutter.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah, so Brent Sutter is the one who captains the Wranglers. They're everywhere. I'll see one walk in the press box. And I'm just like, I'm not even going to try to guess which one this is. They're just everywhere. And I'm not saying that disrespectfully. There's just so many Sutters.
I met one who's a scout for the Sabers earlier in the year. And I'm like, OK, all right.
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Yeah.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Bro, they're just everywhere. And look, good for them. They built their legacy as NHL players. And they have the hold in Calgary. It's just like, I don't know if this is-- I don't know if this is it with this roster, man.
But at the same time, I don't know if Darryl-- I don't know. I don't see-- I don't see him getting fired. I feel like ownership likes him too much. I think at this point, it has to be a situation where-- and maybe I'm wrong. I feel like it's going to have to end up being a situation where it's just like, the team's going to rebuild. And Darryl's just like, I'm not rebuilding, and then I'm out.
OMAR: But you can't rebuild though.
SAM CHANG: Yeah.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: That's it, you can't either! You can't.
OMAR: You can't. And you keep bringing up-- you mentioned the word, the roster that you have. So back to Sam's question, who replaces him? It depends on, OK, are we actually going to let the roster that you have play the way that they should be playing? Or are we going to keep playing this dumb game of, oh, no, we're going to play this way because it's Calgary?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah, but it's Darryl Sutter. You're going to play Darryl Sutter's way. That's who he is.
SAM CHANG: But forget Darryl Sutter. Who do you think would get the most out of this lineup?
OMAR: They need someone who thinks creatively offensively and can allow players like Huberdeau to take some risks, man. That's what it is. He's making double digits next year.
SAM CHANG: Bruce Boudreau.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah, I know, I know, I know, I know.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: I know.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: I know. I was trying to think of so many other people before Bruce Boudreau came up.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: And I think--
SAM CHANG: I thought-- I sat here thinking about it. I was like, he is the perfect antidote to Darryl Sutter. You could not be--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: He is.
SAM CHANG: --more different as a coach, absolute players' coach--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yep
SAM CHANG: --and just high offense.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: But also--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: I just-- I mean, the thing with Bruce Boudreau too is that, I mean, he got hard done in Vancouver. Just sometimes his expiry date kind of comes up a little bit too soon, right? you get the offense. Some of the other stuff has to come up too. But he-- I would love to see Bruce Boudreau in Calgary.