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Official: Brent Sutter is the Head Coach of Calgary UPDATE: No Compensation for Devils

As just announced on Calgary's press conference, Brent Sutter was announced as the head coach for the Calgary Flames.  I have taken a screen cap from the streaming video of this conference from the Flames' website.


Sutter has just thanked the Calgary ownership for being hired.  Darryl Sutter, the team's GM and Brent's brother, stated that they went out and got the "best free agent coach" out there.   

Right now, Q&A is being done at the conference, I'll update with any interesting tidbits.  Any quotes and articles out there will be linked here later. I'm literally going by what I'm hearing. 


First question is about leaving the Devils.  Brent thanked Lou greatly; but states that his situation was "unique" and the understanding of that situation led to his ultimate decision.  He did state that about 3, 4 days after the season ended that the feeling was that he wouldn't be coming back; but he still holds that he wasn't sure until shortly after his decision went public.  But a week after that, the Calgary situation came to him and figured that the geographic location of his interests made more sense.

Second question is about the permission from Lou.  Darryl got permission on June 12th from Lou, so Lou didn't sit on this decision at all.

Third question is about his commitment since he left New Jersey due to .  Brent states that he has given a full-time commitment to the Devils and will do so for Calgary.  Given that he resigned with a year on his contract and given the reasons for why he did that, I'm not really buying this - but that's just my personal opinion.

Fourth question is about when discussions took place between Darryl and Brent. Brent stated flatly that no discussions took place until after the resignation announcement.

Fifth question is about Sutter's vision for the team and Brent states that the identity and vision begins with the coaching staff and will flow through the room.

Sixth question is about compensation, but there isn't much of a response as to whether the Devils got anything out of this.  Brent doesn't know (he wouldn't); I don't believe Darryl had a response?

Seventh question is about the Sutter brothers working for each other - Darryl coached all four guys (Brent and his assistants, I missed the names, sorry)

Eighth and ninth questions are focusing on how the coaching staff will operate. Darryl emphasized leadership, as he was asked that eighth question. Brent goes into more detail, emphasizing how practices are crucial and that defensive hockey also means puck possession on offense.   He brings up the Devils as an example of a good defensive team being able to be good on offense as well.   Yet, it all begins in practice.  So Flames fans, there's your expectation as to how Brent will run this team!

Tenth question is about accountability, Brent unsurprisingly says that it's very important and he will stress it on himself and the players.  Basically, it's a "wolfpack mentality" to Brent.

Eleventh question is about potential of family issues, Brent agrees with Darryl that it's a non-issue due to both of them being in the business for so long and understanding what the roles require.

Twelfth question is for an assistant (now I know it's Ryan McGill) I couldn't make out nor could I figure it out from the answer. Sorry. Thirteenth is a joke question about who told mom (Mrs. Sutter) about the decision - Darryl jokes back that it was the reporter himself.

Fourteenth question is for a second assistant (I didn't get the name either) Dave Lowry who sounds like he's coming from junior.  Discussing the difference between coaching juniors and pro players.  I gather he's the now-former Canada U-18 coach.  I misheard him, he was the former coach of the Calgary Hitmen.

Fifthteenth question is for the third assistant, a former player Jamie McLennan, basically asking how his new job will affect relationship with former teammates.   Assistant feels the goals are the same and he has positive relationships

Sixteenth question is asking Brent if there is any better situation than coaching in Calgary now (outside of Red Deer getting a hypothetical situation).  Brent says everyone from his family to the GM to the owner that everyone is on the same page with respect to expectations and such.  Brent says it's "a good situation" and the family is "most definitely" OK with it.

Seventeenth question is for Darryl working his brother, asking if he ever thought it could happen. Darryl says that with so many Sutters and him being in the NHL

Eighteenth question points out this is the youngest coaching staff Calgary has possibly ever had and asks whether this will revitalize the organization.  The owner fields this one - he emphasizes that he is confident in their abilities.

Ninteenth question is similar but directed for Darryl, asking whether the younger staff will be more in tune with the current game. Darryl does agree that the age was a factor and that they are more "current." 

Twentith question asks whether Darryl would have the same confidence if they just fired their old head coach and Darryl disagrees, defending his decision to get a whole new coaching staff.

Twenty-first question is about criticism of nepotism, the owner says this is not an issue at all and if it were, then he wouldn't have let this happen.  The Flames ownership is not concerned with their last name, but with their qualifications and skills. 

And that ends the Q&A of the press conference proper, everyone's breaking down.   Check here later for more quotes and articles.    I'm still left wondering if there is any compensation, I have a sinking feeling that there won't be though.

UPDATE #1: Flames' site has the official press release, so now I know who exactly all these assistants are.  Post has been updated to reflect that and to correct some spelling errors.

Initial thought so far?  Well, needless to say, Sutter, Scott Gomez, and the Philadelphia Flames will all have something in common according to some of the fans next season.

UPDATE #2: Chere actually got Lou's thoughts on this as the conference was imminent.  Unfortunately, the Devils will get nothing for Lou granting permission:

So, instead of insisting that Sutter sit out a year while still under contract, Lamoriello decided to move on. He granted Flames GM Darryl Sutter permission to sign Brent with no strings attached

"You know once you give consent, because of the new rules in the NHL there is no recourse and no compensation," Lamoriello told me Tuesday afternoon. "I certainly believe there should be compensation in situations like this for all the obvious reasons, but there isn't. That's a league rule and you accept it."

SIGH.  I'm not really happy about this, but to be fair, it's not like Lou was in a good situation to make demands or anything.  The Devils don't really get anything of value out of forcing Brent to sit for a year. So instead of spiting Calgary, Lou let him free.

As brought up earlier when Sutter resigned and restated here by Lou, the league rules don't mandate compensation for a situation like this. Gulitti's brief write-up states that you can't even ask for compensation.  I would have to think those rules will be reconsidered in the future, or at least discussed.   So while I personally felt that Lou should have held out for, well, something: a pick, favor in a future trade, etc.; I don't see how it can happen if you can't even ask for compensation.

Lou figured that he cut his losses and so it goes.  Lou says he's not angry about this:

So, does Lamoriello feel burned?

"No. I never look at things like that," he said. "I look at the set of circumstances and the decision. I'm not angry. I'm just moving forward. And I wish him the best. I don't hold anything against him in any way."

As for naming Sutter's replacement, Lamoriello said: "We've got to get through this week first."

Fair enough.  Even had Brent not go to Calgary at all, the Devils still need a replacement. Nothing is gained by dwelling on the past.  Besides, it's not his job to be mad at Sutter - it's our job as fans (and, oh, how we will let him know about that!) From the last quote, I don't expect it to happen this week.   Chere went above and beyond just Lou, getting quotes from UFA winger Brian Gionta and defenseman Bryce Salvador who had these two telling quotes:

"I don't know if that's been done anywhere else in the league," Salvador said. "Players can't walk away from their contract and go somewhere else. Obviously Lou still had his rights. That kind of shows you that it must've been a concern for Brent being away from his family."


"Definitely," Salvador told me. "You always have those rivalries. It's going to be interesting."

The Devils faithful gave Wayne Gretzky a verbal what's for in response to a comment from the early 1980s.  I expect the fans to express their displeasure with Calgary and with Brent Sutter in the forseeable future.  Again, Brent, Scott Gomez, and the Flyers will all have a common thread in the words of some fans at the Rock.  And it's not just that they are all in the NHL or play hockey or put their pants on one leg at a time (though in Brent's case, I can see him putting one leg on, take six weeks to think about putting on the other leg, leaves the first pair of pants behind to put on another pair in seconds.).

UPDATE #3: Outside opinion from Scott Burnside at ESPN, who doesn't believe that it's raining because his leg is being drenched with a stream of liquid.   It also contains further criticism of Darryl Sutter as a GM, which is a nice bonus. Thanks to Wyshynski (a.k.a. the Puck Daddy) and Speakofthedevs (a.k.a. Carlos of Speaking of the Devils) who linked this via Twitter.

Back to the Devils, Gulitti has words from the owner, Jeff Vanderbeek.  He is, as you may expect, not at all happy about this turn of events as well:

"It's suprising and upsetting," Vanderbeek told me. "The conversations that Lou (Lamoriello) was having and even to the extent that I had [with Sutter] really all revolved around his family, specifically his daughter (Brooke) who is going to be a senior. Never was there any inkling that this was about taking a head coaching job so soon thereafter."


"I'm talking about being surprised based on the conversations between the last game [on April 28] and when he made his decision [to leave the Devils], not anything in the last week," Vanderbeek said. 

He is also not at all keen on the league's rules regarding compensation and makes a point that every Calgary Flames fan should consider:

Vanderbeek is not a fan of the new rule about no compensation, but said he understands it.

"I understand the intent of it and it [the old rule] probably was abused over time," Vanderbeek said. "But certainly, just based on knowing the conversations we had, it leaves a bit of a bad taste in your mouth. That being said, I don't think it helps an organization ever to have somebody working for it that is not 110 percent committed."

Emphasis mine.  Remember, Flames fans, that Sutter quit in the middle of a contract.  Brent Sutter can talk about how committed he was here and how he will be in Calgary.  But how he left the Devils basically puts that into doubt - and it's well deserved. 

Make no mistake about it, I would say that Sutter was more than a fine coach in New Jersey.  The results speak for themselves (well, the regular season results do, at least).  At the end of the day though, he gave one set of reasons for leaving, resigned in the middle of a contract, and then promptly signed up with Calgary.  Leaving in the middle of a contract is not commitment.   Leaving a team to essentially sign elsewhere is not commitment.  I cannot believe Brent Sutter to be fully committed with this in mind.   Remember this should he drop hints about his family or his ranch or Red Deer when things aren't going so well, Flames fans.