GM Darryl Sutter puts himself high on list to coach Flames

If he can’t find someone better than himself, general manager Darryl Sutter says he’ll be the next coach of the Calgary Flames.

CALGARY — If he can’t find someone better than himself, general manager Darryl Sutter says he’ll be the next coach of the Calgary Flames.

Sutter, who coached the Flames from 2002 to 2006, was asked Tuesday at a news conference if he included himself in the pool of candidates to coach the team next season.

“Right now I’m the best one,” Sutter replied. “All the best coaches in the league are under contract. There’s three guys who are excellent.

“I won’t tell you who they are, but then I’m fourth. If I find out at the end of the search that I think I’m the best candidate, then I am the coach.”

The Flames announced Friday that Mike Keenan had been fired with one year remaining on his contract. His dismissal old news four days later, the focus was on whether Sutter would take up the coaching reins again or look elsewhere.

While naming his top three candidates would be considered tampering in the NHL since they are still under contract, one of them is likely his brother Brent, who has yet to decide if he will return to the New Jersey Devils.

“He’s one of the top coaches in the league, but he’s coaching the New Jersey Devils,” Darryl Sutter said.

Two men were removed from speculation Tuesday as the Edmonton Oilers announced the hiring of Pat Quinn as their new head coach and long-time Rangers coach Tom Renney as his associate coach.

The Flames cleaned house in the coaching department as Sutter announced that assistant coaches Rich Preston and Rob Cookson and goalie coach David Marcoux will not have their contracts renewed when they expire June 30.

Associate coach Jim Playfair has been offered a job coaching Calgary’s new American Hockey League affiliate in Abbotsford, B.C., next season.

Sutter wants his new coaching staff in place by the NHL entry draft June 26-27 in Montreal.

“I think the new head coach should pick his staff,” he said.

Sutter joined the Flames as head coach Dec. 28, 2002 and added general manager to his job description less than four months later. He coached the Flames to the Stanley Cup final in 2004, when they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games.

After the 2005-06 season, Sutter divested himself of the coaching role and promoted Playfair from assistant to head coach. Playfair was moved to associate coach when Keenan came on board in 2007.

After four straight exits in the first round of playoffs, and the last two under Keenan, Sutter’s next choice for a head coach will be critical.

It will be the third coaching change in four seasons for the Flames, who spent up to the US$56.7-million salary cap last season to build for a longer playoff run than their six games in April.

Flames president and CEO Ken King denied there was pressure from ownership for Sutter to coach as a cost-saving measure because the Flames will have to pay out the final year of Keenan’s contract.

“That has no bearing on it,” King said. “We’re not trying to get rid of money, but the fact of the matter is Mike’s not here and we’ll have to pay him. We’re not going to try and save that money by giving Darryl double duty. That wouldn’t be the right thing to do.”

King also denied the clock is ticking on Sutter’s employment. Sutter’s agreement with the Flames “does not have an end term to it,” King said. “It’s unique in the league.”

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Hundreds of people have lined the route of a funeral… Continue reading

Calgary police officer seriously injured

CALGARY — The Calgary Police Service says one of its officers was… Continue reading

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

MONTREAL — Canadian politicians are adding their voices to the international reaction… Continue reading

‘Four of a dozen kids will not make it:’ Tina Fontaine’s family healing together

WINNIPEG — Melissa Stevenson was just starting her career 18 years ago… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $16 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $16 million jackpot… Continue reading

Hundreds of neo-Nazis march in Berlin, protected by police

BERLIN — Hundreds of neo-Nazis waving flags with the colours of the… Continue reading

Romanian trucker is Genoa bridge’s 43rd victim

GENOA, Italy — The Latest on the Italy bridge collapse (all times… Continue reading

1 dead, 6 injured after building collapse in Nigeria capital

ABUJA, Nigeria — An emergency response chief says one person is dead… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month