Friday, April 13, 2012

Sutter Sacked, Bitz Sits While Weber Walks

I have always been a firm believer in "three and out" when it comes to sports.

If a head coach can't make significant progress within three years time... whether it be winning a championship or making the playoffs depending on your goal, or ever just a significant improvement in the standings... then it's time to make a change.

Therefore, it certainly did not surprise me (not that it surprised many others) to see the Calgary Flames and Brent Sutter go their separate ways.

As much as I like Brent as a coach, he really did do a great job while trying to succeed with an extremely inadequate Flames roster, the time for change was obvious. The scary question for Flames is what kind of change is in store?

Earlier this week, Sutter made it clear that he would be more than comfortable in coming back next season to guide a younger, rebuilding Flames team. Days later, he is on the outside. Does that mean GM Jay Feaster (along with President Ken King and principle owner Murray Edwards) are stuck in the 're-tool not re-build' mindset? You have to think that's the case otherwise Sutter would be an ideal candidate to lead such a rebuild given his track record of working with younger players.

That being said (as first tossed out there by @reb_rebellion) would Sutter be a good fit behind the bench in Edmonton? He probably would.

Anyhoo... Brent will no doubt take plenty of time before deciding on his next move. Don't rule out the possibility of him coaching Canada's entry at the World Hockey Championship.

One thing I can most certain of... Jesse Wallin isn't going anywhere. He is firmly entrenched at the Red Deer Rebels' General Manager and Head Coach. And deservedly so as he's doing an admirable job in both roles (though I did have some fans actually tell me he should have been fired after this past season). If Brent does not end up working in the NHL next season, my expectation would be to see him carry out his role as Rebels Owner / President with more of a first hand presence... while also doing a bit more ranchin' out at the homestead.


Good to see the NHL come down on Vancouver's Byron Bitz, suspending him for two games for his hit to the head on Los Angeles forward Kyle Clifford (who, by the way, will not be playing for the Kings tonight in game two).

Sadly, Sheriff Shanahan dropped the ball by not doing the same with Nashville's Shea Weber. At a time when the NHL is supposedly taking hardline stance on head shots, Weber essentially got a free pass for driving Henrik Zetterberg's head into the glass (from behind at that). Regardless of the fact that the Detroit star forward was not seriously injured on the play, Weber's intent to inflict injury was apparent. It was a potentially dangerous play that is simply unacceptable... will be quite interesting to see what happens should a similar incident happen again at some point during the playoffs.

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