Friedman: “I think [Nazem Kadri]’s been very blunt about the communication between the players and the coach”

Photo credit:Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
1 year ago
Elliotte Friedman commented on Monday’s episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast about the Calgary Flames locker room, and where he thinks Nazem Kadri is on the head coach Darryl Sutter.
“I’ve heard that Kadri has been very vocal about what he sees going on in Calgary and why the team isn’t firing on all cylinders. I think he’s been very blunt about the communication between the players and the coach there. I’m betting some of that frustration boiled over in that game Saturday night. I’m curious to see where this is all going to go.”
Kadri was benched for a period of time in the 5-4 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars, registering only 8 minutes of time on the ice after two periods and only playing a total of 13:05, which is four minutes fewer than his average over the course of this season. In the major 8-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, he played had even less time at 12:35, which was the same as his time on ice against the Vegas Golden Knights, the game before playing Dallas.
Kadri’s season has not been what the Flames wanted, and everyone knows that, even Kadri himself. He’s being paid $7 million for the next 7 seasons, and it’s important that he finds a way to get going, if not this season, then next. With 49 points in 71 games, that’s just not going to do it. However, if he doesn’t feel like the coaching is doing a good job, then it’s going to be hard for him to reach that next level, especially with the Flames looking to make a push toward the post-season.
Kadri is not the first person this season to have called out Sutter and highlight problems in the locker room – the comments by agent Allan Walsh, who represents Jonathan Huberdeau, have been well-documented. When there are multiple people voicing their opinions that the head coach is not doing his job properly, I don’t see any way that the people in charge can bring him back for next season. (At best, it becomes pretty tough to justify.) The way he is using certain players is mind-boggling, some of the decisions to scratch players have been baffling as well, and the on-ice results just haven’t been there this season. There’s good reason that fans feel the way they do about the man behind the bench.
This off-season is a big one for the Flames, as general manager Brad Treliving might be on his way out, and with that, I don’t see any way that Sutter isn’t on his way out either. However, if they manage to find a reason to keep the former Stanley Cup-winning coach and his staff, the Flames may be in a big world of hurt for the foreseeable future.
No matter what, another player (especially one that has as much importance to the future of the roster as Kadri) potentially vocalizing issues with the head coach is a pretty big stain on a resume. Everyone knew the kind of coach Sutter would be when he made his way back to Calgary, but even though he has a connection to this team, I’m not sure how you justify keeping him around after all of this drama.

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