May 26 2009 08:56PM
To say Darryl Sutter typically plays his cards close to the vest isn’t quite a strong enough statement. It’s slightly more accurate to say that Sutter will not only protect his hand but also refuse to commit to a specific card game — poker? Canasta? Euchre? Go Fish? — until he’s darn good and ready.
That’s why it was so interesting Tuesday when the Flames general manager uncharacteristically showed everyone one — just one, mind you — of his hole cards. Sutter says he’s eyeing three solid candidates for the coaching vacancy who may or may not be available to him and that if he strikes out on that front, then he himself is the best man for the job.
Just for the fun of it, let’s take Sutter at face value on this one. What does his public acknowledgment of the situation say about the chances Sutter thinks he has of landing one of his Big Three? If any of that unnamed trio was considered a seriously legitimate possibility, would Sutter ever admit he’s considering himself as an option? Logic says no.
Sutter on Tuesday also essentially ruled out the Jacques Lemaire scenario, if only indirectly. When asked if Lemaire — who is being championed by many fans and a few media outlets —was a candidate, Sutter replied by stating how much energy it takes to be a coach. AN NHL bench boss has to be young, Sutter hinted, or at least has to think young. The clear implication was that Lemaire, who’ll be 64 before the next season starts, isn’t willing to put himself through the grind anymore and is committed to semi-retirement. It still seems far-fetched that Lemaire — who despite a long career behind the bench has never been fired — would have been a candidate even if he was 54, 44 or 34.
One last thing, a clarification on a comment about the assistants in the earlier post today. As RossCreek correctly points out, the assistants — Rich Preston, Rob Cookson and David Marcoux — have all been told they’re out. What remains under review is the status of former associate coach Jim Playfair and former farm club skipper Ryan McGill.