CALGARY — Another Sutter is joining the Calgary Flames.
General manger Darryl Sutter named his brother Brent the new head coach of the NHL club Tuesday.
The addition of Brent pushes the total number of Sutters in the Flames fold to five.
Brother Duane is director of player personnel, brother Ron is a scout
and Darryl’s son Brett played for the Flames farm team last season.
The team has also named Ryan McGill, Dave Lowry and Jamie McLennan assistant coaches.
Darryl said there were three key things he considered when choosing his new coaching staff.
“Number one was leadership, (that was) very, very important,’’ he said
during a news conference. “Number two was structure and number three
Brent quit the New Jersey Devils with one year remaining on his
contract to return to Alberta, saying he missed his family and that he
wanted to restore his Red Deer Rebels junior hockey team.
“There was some personal things that he understood,’’ Brent said of Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello
The 47-year-old from Viking, Alta., coached the Devils to a 97-56-11
regular-season record in his first two seasons as an NHL coach, but New
Jersey was upset in the first round both seasons.
The appointment of Brent as the Flames head coach has long been
expected, however. After firing Mike Keenan on May 22 with a year on
his contract remaining, Darryl said his brother was a good coach, but
could say little else because Brent was still under contract with the
Darryl would have had to get permission from Lamoriello to hire his brother.
The Flames underachieved last season with a fourth straight exit in the
first round of playoffs, despite spending up to the US$56.7-million
salary cap to build for a long post-season.
Calgary led the Northwest Division by 13 points in January, but
injuries and inconsistent play eroded that cushion and cost Calgary
home-ice advantage in the post season. The Flames finished fifth in the
Western Conference with a 46-30-6 record.
Changes expected next season are a return to defence and a reduction in the workload of goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
Darry pointed out after firing Keenan that his team had gone from No. 1 in the league in defence in 2005-06 to 23rd this season.
Brent would be expected to get more out of Calgary’s Big Four:
Kiprusoff, captain Jarome Iginla and defencemen Robyn Regehr and Dion
“This is a difficult group to coach, obviously,’’ Darryl said. `”There are star players that need a special type of coach.’’
Brent is thought to be the right man to restore Phaneuf’s game after
the former Norris Trophy nominee dropped to a minus-11 last season.
Brent coached Phaneuf four seasons with the Red Deer Rebels and at the
2005 world junior championship.