nhl

Sutter steps down as Flames coach

Sutter and Playfair

Sutter and Playfair

7/12/2006 4:39:44 PM

CALGARY (CP) - Pulling back from coaching may be harder on Darryl Sutter than he admits.

At a news conference confirming longtime assistant Jim Playfair will take over the Flames head coaching duties, Sutter had a hard time Wednesday letting the new guy even finish his own answers.

''Don't overlook the fact that it's about the team and there's a time for your veterans, your skilled players and your top players to assume responsibility,'' said Sutter, 47, who will focus on the general manager duties he added in 2003.

''It's not about one person or a spotlight, it's about the whole organization taking control.''

Sutter concedes that he'll be quick to point out any problems he sees on the ice. Playfair says he's under no illusion that there won't be conflict, but adds that's a good thing as the club focuses on capturing a Stanley Cup.


 

''Absolutely we'll butt heads: that's part of the deal,'' said Playfair, who was touted as a potential head coach for the Flames before Sutter was hired in 2002.

''It's why and how you get better,'' said the 42-year-old, who will take over a much better team than when he joined Sutter's staff after leading Calgary's AHL affiliate for three years. 

''You have to have those challenges,'' said Playfair. ''It's never personal. The bottom line is it's about finding ways to get better. It's not an emotional issue, it's more about a competitive issue.''

Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr welcomed the news of the coaching change.

''Jim is familiar with a lot of the players that are currently on our team,'' said Regehr, who was attending the NHLPA meetings in Whistler, B.C. ''It will be a good fit. I also think Darryl was having a hard time finding all the time he needs to do both jobs the way he was happy with. Now he's having a chance to move upstairs it will be good for him to just focus on the general manager position.''

Sutter was often accused of having a sour deposition that sometimes seeped into the Flames dressing room. Regehr smiled with asked if Playfair will bring a lighter feeling behind the bench.

''A change at the head coaching position always makes a big difference around the dressing room and the entire hockey team,'' he said. ''A lot of the players are very comfortable with Jim Playfair. I think we've had a chance to see what kind of job he can do as an assistant. I think he'll do a very good one as a head guy.''

Sutter says the plan has always been to have Playfair take over.

''It's the absolute natural progression of a good club,'' said Sutter. ''Our team continues to get better and this is the culmination of what we've done this summer to improve our hockey club.''

The Flames recently added star winger Alex Tanguay to the lineup, a much-needed boost to an offence that was 27th in the league last season. Vezina goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and captain Jarome Iginla remain signed for two more seasons and many believe the Flames must capitalize on that strength now.

Over the last 3½ years, Sutter has put his stamp on this organization and made the Flames a respected NHL force after years of missing the playoffs. He took Calgary to the Stanley Cup final in 2004 and compiled a 107-73-26 record behind the Calgary bench.

Sutter says he found times last season when the toll of both jobs was too much. That's despite amassing a 46-25-11 record: good enough for third place in the Western Conference before the Flames were eliminated in seven games in the first round of playoffs by Anaheim.

   ''As a general manager you expect a lot out of your head coach and your coaching staff,'' said Sutter. ''There (were) times I felt I should have and could have done a better job. But there's just not enough days in the week and hours in the day.''  

Sutter realizes there was a lot of speculation that he would hand the reins over to his bother Brent, who has coached the Canadian national junior team to back-to-back world championships.

''All my brothers were very good candidates, but at the end of the day blood is thicker than business,'' said Sutter, adding that it wouldn't have been right to hire older brother Brian either.

''I don't know if any of you have older brothers, but the younger brother should never be the older brother's boss,'' he said. ''In the end, It's probably not a successful model. The model of building from within and growing from within is the one that works.''

Veteran coach Wayne Fleming joins the Flames as an assistant coach, bringing with him years of experience with the Canadian national team as well as stops with the New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes and Philadelphia Flyers.

''I think he's qualified as a head coach,'' said Sutter. ''When you've been coached or been on staff that's had success on international teams or World Cup teams, you've learned how to deal with the top players. That's really important for our team.''

Fleming said he was attracted by the strength of the Flames and the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup.

''The future is now as far as the Calgary Flames are concerned,'' said Fleming, 56. ''It's not a rebuilding program. It's more of an assimilation of young talent with the proven veteran talent.''






NO. AUTHOR MESSAGE
1bauernikehockeyWow. I didn't see this coming! Why on earth is he ...
2liam747shocked! ...
3schumacher#1No No No No No No No. I can't believe this, this i ...
4IafrateHuge loss for the Flames but Jim deserves a chance ...
5gohabsgo5WHAT THE????? The only possible reason is that he ...
6roakleycaSmart move - Sutter took his time molding the Flam ...
7Bobrick17you knew that he was going to have to drop the GM ...
8mizzzikeWow where did this come from ...
9flames_themanI am surprised. I figured one more year for Darryl ...
10kcoutlawswhat a shock! I didn't see this coming. I always ...
11cliveguyIt's always been Daryl's plan to step aside to foc ...
12howiejohnAnother smart move by Sutter - I sense he was on t ...
13GatewayThe gm and coach of a team is hard to do these day ...
14my_callits definitley a personal decision. maybe family o ...
15oilerbloodNext to Kipper, Sutter is the main reason why Calg ...
16autokid15It's hard doing two major jobs in the NHL at once ...
17zartejyou seriously didn't see this coming baurenikehock ...
18joebearsonIt is getting progressively harder for someone to ...
19steve12012He's smart to step down while he can, because inev ...
20kruser69Good move, Darryl can concentrate on his GM duties ...
21IKnowKockeyFlames will be the top of their devision no matter ...
22tommytuneI would have guessed this. Not a big surprise. He ...
23dkhattari wonder why he didn't make Rico the head coach gi ...
24dadio61So much for the Flames chances next year. :-( Su ...
25aszuminskyNow he can focus solely on his duties as the GM fo ...
26darkwing99C'mon people, lose the drama. This was not a shock ...
27mecsmd99Sure would be nice to get Sutter in Edmonton. A pl ...
28jodyandterryLogical move by Sutter. Playfairs coaching capabil ...
29calgarybomberGoing as planned, indeed. Those of you who 'never ...
30godofhockeysteviey19The only thing I can think of is that its a health ...
31dantzuNOT a SHOCKER. This was talked about after last se ...
32SWIATLOPLAYFAIR was very active, he would tell the team w ...
33jtrain73How are you all surprised ? Are you not Flames fan ...
34rinkrat2Sutter couldn't take the Flames past the first rou ...
35ghOILl22Check my name. Calgary will be alright, Sutter ca ...
36dfjohnsoAfter the Fames lost in the first round to the Duc ...
37TheRocketIf this is true, there is a great reason behind it ...
38mikehawkeWho didn't know it was coming does not pay attenti ...
39mpavao81wow totally didnt see that coming. why would he st ...
40cgyflames24In Sutter We Trust.... which means that if he deci ...
41DIRTYS33DIt can not be easy to give both titles of GM and c ...
42trefNot a shock. At all. Sutter wasn't able to prope ...
43higginsrocksthis should be good for the flames, maybe it will ...
44aday254It's been pretty much common knowledge if you list ...
45oldschoolcalgary1No surprises in Calgary...everyone here knew Sutte ...
46flamesterIt's ok Flames fans...this is a Sutter's team, who ...
47doublearon73Smart move, it's way to taxing in todays NHL to ho ...
48rolarskatesThere were rumours at the end of the season that h ...
49louj_eHopefully, defensive style coachs such as Sutter ( ...
50dorrsy This has been rumoured since last summer, so to ...
51mvpumpI don't know why everyone is so shocked, they've b ...
52mnmloverWith the new rule changes and Sutter's desire to p ...
53messtogravesI have really enjoyed watching the Flames style of ...
54HipCheck60NO big surprise, Sutter was heading towards this l ...
55mettyThis isnt a surprise people; Sutter said a while a ...
56black_bettyWOO! Best coaching decision made by Sutter in a lo ...
57RenniheI think that Coach Jimmy will follow what Sutter h ...
58KexoduscHis style wears thin on players fast, and he knows ...
59letsgoguinsDunno how one guy could both coach and be GM nowad ...
60canadiancrusaderPat Burns would've been a great replacement for hi ...
61squirlzy44Its a shocker, but you can bet he will still be ca ...
62JohnConnorThe Flames would win more games if he'd quit as GM ...
63OilersAreOneYearWondersI don't know why people are surprised? Sutter has ...
64iginlanets52Another smart move by Sutter. Well all know Sutter ...
65marlinyqrHe should leave the bench....his rant on Phaneuf l ...
66aidancFirst, everyone knew Sutter was stepping down as c ...
67ewjonesThis isn't a surprise. There have been rumours abo ...
68redwingsguruWHY? WHAT FOR? WOW! This is really really shockin ...
69ElGuapoBait and switch? What about the players who came ...
70calgaryisaoneyearwonderSmart Move. Maybe now he can get some more goal sc ...
71FirefoxI'm not sure why everyone is so surprised by this ...
72LordxanOne thing came to mind, I thought Sutter wanted to ...
73doubajzPlayfiar is just Sutters lap dog. Nothing is going ...
74LordxanHey everyone, Playfair was called up from the mino ...
75LLCOOLJWThis has been the plan since day 1. Playfair has ...
76whippersnapper12As has already been mentioned, when Sutter was hir ...
77MrCruiseHe didn't want to be the coach of a team that can' ...
78pekkaroutakelioUmm...I'm not sure why anyone is surprised. This ...
79pigskin47No surprise here, Darryl just wants to concentrate ...
80r_b_johnstonNot unexpected. Further, by many accounts Playfair ...
81flames4prezAlthough this is a bit of a surprise it is a good ...
82Rockin'BobPlayfair was being groomed for Flames head coach f ...
83roneel_84PLAYFAIR IS HOME....What a great day it is in Calg ...
84habsfan76I figured he'd give up that duty, it's tough to pl ...
85calgary4life2I'm neither surprised nor dissapointed by this. E ...
86ja.reidSutter has the on-ice aspect running smoothly and ...
87Carter2A sad day for all Flames fans including me, but he ...
88mapleleafs_73Great move...hard to juggle duties of 2 individual ...
89coronaextraPlayfair will fail just as other assistant coaches ...
90TazFLAMEiaNo surprise here. It was going to happen sooner th ...
91bradzerkCalm down people. Sutter is still on the scene. ...
92bob6900It is also possible that Sutter was losing the dre ...
93NigelllSaw this coming a long time ago, the man ate, brea ...
94jag44all i can say is goood riddance, as a huge flames ...
95theloveofthegameI think this is a great move, and how can people s ...
96Darren33I think he did it because he is planning to get in ...
97kfredoWhat, no more of Sutter's charming personality dui ...
98phaneuf_royWay to be Sutter, now you can concentrate on the G ...
99veetsPrediction: at some point, Playfair will be out an ...
100dentallicaPlayfair is coming into a HIGH EXPECTATIONS role. ...
101McGillA huge loss for the Flames. They will not have the ...
102wcr666I think Sutter finally realized that the new game ...
103dterry1980The Coach/GM role is the way that the Flames were ...
104CaptPantalonesgood move. let him focus on one job and give playf ...
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