Head coach Darryl Sutter: Calgary Flames got ‘some respect back’ with 2021-22 performance
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
The Calgary Flames did a lot of impressive things in the 2021-22 season. They won 50 games for just the third time in franchise history. They won the Pacific Division for the second time in four seasons. They won a playoff round for just the second time since 2004.
But according to head coach Darryl Sutter at his year-end media availability, the team also managed to “get some respect back” within the league.
Sutter’s comments coincide with what several players also said in their exit interviews: the Flames became a much tougher night at the office in 2021-22 than they had been previously. Sutter praised his group for their consistency throughout the season, but pointed out an area that he wanted them to keep improving.
“Make sure we’re a better trained team, that’s for sure,” said Sutter. “I think that was a huge step for us last summer and through the season, but I think in the end as much as our team improved we have players who have to take another step in that to become better players.”
Progression and goal-setting was a constant theme in Sutter’s final chat with the media of the season. He emphasized that pushing for a Stanley Cup is the product of multiple trips to the playoffs, and it’s usually the result of progressing short-term goals.
“The bottom is there’s no long-time goals ever reached unless you can reach short-term goals,” said Sutter. “And that was something as an organization that had to be for sure reset. So we made progress in that, so it’s taking that and seeing how we can improve on that.”
Later on, Sutter went a bit further, taking a light jab at the media and then mentioning something interesting.
“You set the goals for the team,” said Sutter, referring to the media. “The organization should’ve did it, and that kinda slipped into the locker room, when you’ve got a young group that hasn’t had very much success, for sure.”
In terms of team progress, Sutter referred to the steps forward the players in the 23-27 year old age group took during the season and noted that the progress of those players is what should be used to gauge team success (and drives team success). He specifically praised Daniel Vladar’s progress and Oliver Kylington making the team out of training camp by earning a job.
On Saturday, Blake Coleman referred to how Tampa Bay’s playoff exits helped drive the club to their subsequent back-to-back Stanley Cup wins, and how head coach Jon Cooper (and those within that locker room) reminded the group of those experiences.
Sutter made similar comments in regards to the team building off the experience.
“It was a good experience for them, and it’s good that it hurts at the end because then they understand it better,” said Sutter. “There’s lots of guys that’ve played one round and won one game, so they don’t really get much about it. But the next step is the next step.”
If nothing else, Sutter indicated that he was pleased with the progress of the group, but feels there’s still a lot of work left to do to get the team to where he thinks they can go.
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