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‘The difference was that we lost’: Mikael Backlund discusses Darryl Sutter in Swedish interview

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
9 months ago
Even though we are a ways away from the firing of Darryl Sutter, it is still being brought up with certain players to see if there is any more insight we can gain into what really happened behind the closed doors of the Calgary Flames locker room. In an interview with prominent Swedish journalist Uffe Bodin for Hockeysverige (that was translated from Swedish to English), we were able to get some perspective from Mikael Backlund on the subject.
“There wasn’t much of a difference from him [from one season to the next],” Backlund said in Swedish (translated with Google Translate). “The difference was that we lost. When you win, that leadership style works, but when you lose, you don’t sync as well. There was a lot of negative leadership, and it can be tough. We had the same leadership the year before, but when you win, you can live with it. If you lose, the negative leadership becomes tougher.”
None of this comes as much of a surprise (or at least it shouldn’t). Coaches like Sutter have a very short shelf life because while he especially has proven that he can coach teams to win championships, there is still an aspect of “it’s never good enough.” The term that sticks out to me in Backlund’s quote is “negative leadership.” And when that attitude is combined with some under-performance due to various reasons or when it’s combined with a roster that doesn’t really fit the play-style he’s looking for, there is bound to be some clashes between the players and the coach.
With Ryan Huska in charge of the bench now, it sounds like Backlund is interested in what he can bring to the table. Of course, he still has to make a decision on whether or not he wants to stay, but it’s easy to assume that if Sutter were being retained for the upcoming season, he would be on his way out.
Backlund has always been someone that Flames fans and coaches can rely on to get the job done, and even though he had issues with Sutter, he fought tooth and nail to keep the train moving forward. With a fresh start under a new coaching staff (and a potential ‘C’ on his jersey other than the flaming one in the middle), it would be great to see him come back and try to right the wrongs of the previous year.

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