Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sutter steps aside

In a somewhat suprising move, Darryl Sutter resigned his post as coach of the Flames, and has decided to fully concentrate on GMing the team. I have mixed feelings. For one, at times I've felt as if Darryl's coaching is superior to his GMing. Now, I can't take anything away from all the great moves he's made for this team (Kipper, and cheap, signing Regher cheap, aquiring Tanguay, Nilson, drafting Phanuef, etc) but sometimes I feel like for every great move he's made, hes made one bad one. (Reaquiring Weimer, signing Amonte, letting Niemenin go, letting Gelinas go, trading Commodore, Montadore and Lydman away for nothing, etc).

On the flip side, Darryl's coaching has always been good. He arrived in Calgary as skipper of a sinking ship, and he turned that ship into a fierce frigate. Calgary's offensive zone pressure system in the 04 playoffs was thwarted only by a multitude of injuries, and most recently Sutter coached Calgary to first place in the NW conference running on little to no offence. (Of course, some of that success could be due to Kipper, but Sutter is responsible for Kipper's arrival, but that was GM Darryl, not coach Darryl.)

Heres the rub though- the fact Calgary had no offence was because Darryl didnt bring in offensive players. He admitted today that at some times he was not satisfied with his coaching performance, and I'm sure his GM performance. Having him step aside allows him more time to scout prospects and build a more complete Calgary team. And of course, no duel role GM/coach as won a Stanley Cup since Glen Sather. Its too much of a role to fill by one man in today's NHL.

How will Jim Playfair do as Calgary's coach? I suspect fine. Former Calgary GM Craig Button wanted to name him head coach 3 years ago, and Playfair thought he was ready. Today Playfair claims that not being named coach 3 years ago was a strike of good luck, in his own words, he didn't know what he didn't know. Darryl (the coach and GM) has been grooming Playfair for this role all this time. And trust me when I say, if Darryl Sutter has that much confidence in Playfair, then Flames fans should feel very confident themselves.

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