Brent Sutter is no longer the coach of the Calgary Flames

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Brent Sutter, Calgary Flames coach

Brent Sutter is no longer the coach of the Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames General Manager, Jay Feaster, announced today that the Flames organization has come to a mutual agreement with Brent Sutter and he will no longer be the coach of the team moving forward.

The announcement isn’t a big surprise after the Flames failed to make the playoffs for a third consecutive season, and certainly sends a message that nobody is safe, both players and coaches. In the same announcement, the Flames confirmed that they will not renew the contract of assistant coach, Dave Lowry.

“Brent Sutter and I met and discussed a number of issues regarding the hockey team and the future,” said Flames general manager Jay Feaster. “Brent and I explored many options and ultimately determined that it is best to proceed in different directions.”

Translation: “we’re not trading Iggy and blowing up the team, so Sutter’s throwing in his hand and going back to Viking, AB to wait until the Winnipeg Jets come calling.”

Here is the Jay Feaster interview following the announcement:

As diplomatic as this announcement was, it is clear that the blame for the Flames poor season lands squarely on the shoulders of the coach, who failed to lead the team into the playoffs. I’m not sure I necessarily agree with this though. The Flames have a problem in their dressing room and I’m not convinced that any other coach would have been successful in sorting them out this season. I think that the Flames’ true problem is a two-faced one.

First, previous (D. Sutter) and present (J. Feaster) Flames GMs never added anyone to replace Iggy’s scoresheet contributions as he ages. It’s clear that Jarome will not be the main offensive guy for the team in the future, so they shouldn’t expect him to bear the brunt of the opponents’ defensive focus every night. But as long as he’s the main point-producer on the team, he will be. The last time any Flames teammate had more points than Iggy was in 1999-2000 when Valeri Bure finished with 12 more points than #12.

Second, too many Flames players are much too comfortable in Calgary. This includes Iggy and all the rest of the veterans, whose lackadaisical, inconsistent attitude rubs off on the young players. As we all know, Calgary is a great place to make your home, but something about the city doesn’t encourage hockey champions. The city takes talented hockey players and miraculously transforms them into lazy players who dominate on the ice ever other game and then drift off into dreams of spending their summers by the lake while watching their opposition shoot 40+ shots on Kipper.

Let’s put it this way: trade me to a nice city and I’ll be distracted by how wonderful it is and how much I like the great restaurants, quality schools and the beauty of the surroundings. Force me to live in an ugly, uninspiring city and I’m going to do everything I can to win a Stanley Cup to make it worth spending my time there. Is it any wonder that the Red Wings have made the post season for the last 21 years? I’ve been to Detroit and it’s nothing to brag about. Calgary’s definitely no Detroit.

The Calgary Flames can tinker with their lineup as much as they want, but they need to do some serious psychological/motivational work if they hope to see any different results in the coming seasons. My belief is this: with Iggy, Kipper, Cammalleri, Giordano, Jokinen, JayBo, Glencross, and Tanguay in their lineup, Flames management believe that they have some serious talent and can make a run of it before Iggy retires. They believe that they will be able to make a few off-season changes and find some magic addition that will make a huge difference. Unfortunately, there are too many Flames fans that have heard enough of that argument and no longer believe it. And I’m one of them.

About Greg Hounslow (558 Posts)

Greg is the founder of Red Mile Blog has been following the Flames through good times and bad since they arrived in Calgary in the early 80s. He has written hundreds of articles on the Flames since 2005 and considers himself an expert on hockey inconsistency and frustration. He shoots right and usually plays defence, but has been known to jump up in the rush. He is a 2-time CAHL men's league champion and knows the sweet taste of beer from a Cup.


  • OldeBuffalo

    Brent Sutter wasn’t the problem but unfortunately he wasn’t the solution to the problem either.
    Jay Feaster was dealt an impossible hand when he became general manager and it’s going to take some time for him to get things straightened out. Don’t forget that he put together a Stanley Cup winning team (if only because there was no video review of a goal that actually would have awarded the Flames their second Stanley Cup).There will be changes and some players will be traded, regardless of whether they have a no-trade contract or not. If a player is not wanted they’ll agree to a trade but it will be to a team of their choice.     

  • Karen McAuley

    I would hate to see Iggy or Kipper go…if not for Kipper we would have been a lot worse off – the poor guy often carries the whole team…Iggy is a good leader – when he leads.  I did read that there is a lack of youth in the team (ages 22-26) and that sadly there isn’t a lot of hope in the farm team of filling that this next season.  They for sure need to do something more than coaching – and King can go anytime – now would be good – but doubtful.  Guess we will have to wait and see who goes and who stays…

  • D Newman65

    I disagree with your thinking that management thinks they can tinker and do it again. They’ve said they cant do that anymore. There will be major changes and I really think Kipper or Iggy will be dealt this summer..and im leading towards Kipper over Iggy. Maybe Im just a wishful thinker, but I dont think Murray Edwards is going to put up with this shit any longer. And that’s why ken King could/shuold be shown the door as well. Why a non-hockey guy has any say in hockey operations is beyond me and it’s clear he has his hands in certain hockey matters. 

    • http://redmileblog.com Greg @ Red Mile Blog

      I think you’re partly right. Until Ken King is gone, this will be the status quo. He is the guy that’s holding everything back because his star players are what keep selling seasons tickets. As long as he stays in as President, the tinkering will continue, and I am not convinced that the owners will get rid of him.

      I agree that it will be Kipper over Iggy if any major trades are made this summer because the Flames would get more in return for him than they would get for Iggy. Lots of teams need a goalie like him.

      • OldeBuffalo

        Ken King is a ‘business’ manager. He doesn’t make hockey player or coaching decisions and he does not interfere with on ice hockey related decisions. The management group is comprised of some of Canada’s most astute businessmen and they do not get involved in on ice hockey related decisions either. They’ve hired a president that is charged with running their multimillion dollar business for the overall good of the citizens of Calgary and Flames fans in Southern Alberta

        The owners want a winner just as much as any Calgary fan does, however, they’re smart enough to let the president hire the team’s managers and they’re smart enough to stay out of the dressing room too. 

        This is the Flames. It’s not Harold Ballard’s Maple Leafs and it’s definitely not the  Canucks of the Aquilini family in Vancouver.     

        • Ychan

          King is not a hands off business manager and that is a problem. Many sources including Mike Keenan have confirmed this. He needs to go in order for this organization to move forward. Brent Sutter’s departure speaks volumes about the influence of Iginla with King and owners and this is an unhealthy situation. Why would a top coach or free agent want to join this dysfunctional organization?

    • OldeBufalo

      Ken King is a ‘business’ manager. He doesn’t make hockey player or coaching
      decisions and he does not interfere with on ice hockey related decisions. The
      ownership group is comprised of some of Canada’s most astute businessmen and
      they do not get involved in on ice hockey related decisions either. They’ve
      hired a president that is charged with running their multimillion-dollar
      business for the overall good of the citizens of Calgary and Flames fans in
      Southern Alberta.

      The owners want a winner just as much as any Calgary fan does, however,
      they’re smart enough to let the president hire the team’s managers and they’re
      smart enough to stay out of the dressing room too.

      This is the Flames.
      It’s not Harold Ballard’s Maple Leafs and it’s definitely not the Canucks of
      the Aquilini family in Vancouver.     

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