Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman unveiled his latest 31 Thoughts column on Tuesday. To nobody’s surprise, the Calgary Flames and their coaching changeover was a topic of conversation.
5. Things can always change, but the price is also high for Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell. Calgary wouldn’t pay it, and I’m not sure there’s a match with Toronto. The Ducks, I think, want young players with a little more of an NHL track record for him.
In this job, you try to understand the personalities you’re dealing with. One thing I’ve learned about GM Bob Murray is he can think, “Not ready to do this, not ready to do this,” and then decide, “Okay, I’m ready,” almost catching people by surprise. Let’s see where it goes with Rakell.
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17. When Dean Lombardi hired Darryl Sutter to coach the Kings in 2012, the latter said he was “in the barn” when the GM called.
“I wasn’t shovelling s–t, I remember that, but I had (earlier) that day.”
For the record, this time Sutter was at a bull sale.
18. The Flames are 3-0 since Sutter’s arrival, and one thing is obvious — they are slowing down games. It wasn’t as easy to do in Monday night’s game against Edmonton. The Oilers force you to play at a faster pace. But, in the first two with Montreal, scoring chances were way down. According to tracking guru Corey Sznajder’s data (@ShutdownLine), there were some noticeable changes in Calgary’s play. Shots created off the forecheck were way up, they dumped the puck in more (which fits) and were stingier allowing the Canadiens into their zone with possession. None of this will surprise anyone when it comes to Sutter, but the numbers sure backed the eye test.
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Sutter has the Flames playing structured, low-event hockey in two thirds of the ice, the same style that prompted Ville Nieminen to label it “hospital hockey” – because it requires lots of patience. (The exception is the offensive zone, where they have a structured, multi-man forecheck.) The team has to stay disciplined in order to maintain that structure, but they’ve won three fairly tight low-event games thus far, which might inspire the team to stick to it rather than get loose.