- Scott Burnside, NHL
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We know it's sacrilege to suggest anything untoward when it comes to hockey's blue-collar royal family, the Sutters. But Tuesday's announcement that Brent Sutter would take over as coach of the Calgary Flames, where brother Darryl is GM, leaves us more than a little nauseous.
Last time we checked, the Flames had to play 82 regular-season games, the same as Brent's old team, the New Jersey Devils. And last time we checked, half of the Flames' games were on the road, the same number of games away from home as the Devils. And last time we checked our trusty map (not to mention calling colleagues in Calgary), Red Deer, where Brent farms and owns a much-loved junior team, is still about a 90-minute drive from Calgary.
All of which makes us more than a little suspicious of Brent's motives given that the main reason he waffled on returning to coach the Devils in 2009-10 was that he missed being home and looking after his junior team.
Pretty convenient that Darryl canned coach Mike Keenan after the Flames were dusted in the first round by Chicago to create an opening in Alberta.
So was Brent really homesick or just sick of Devils GM Lou Lamoriello and Newark?
Fair enough if it's more the latter, but don't try to force a load of Grade-A beef droppings down fans' throats in both cities and insist it's homemade apple pie, which is what the Sutter brothers are trying to do.
For a family whose reputation is built on grit and character and has made the Sutters wealthy, respected men in the hockey business, this little shell game can do little but diminish all of that.
Brent has established himself as a fine coach, first at the junior level and then in his two seasons in the NHL. How he didn't end up on the Jack Adams Award ballot for coach of the year (sorry, Claude Julien) is a head-scratcher given that he coaxed a Devils team, minus Martin Brodeur, to the top of the Atlantic Division in 2008-09.
But his Devils were dumped two years in a row in the first round, which should make him pretty comfortable in Calgary given the Flames have not won a playoff series since going to the Stanley Cup finals in 2004 and show little inclination to do anything different in the near future.
What is perhaps more remarkable than Brent getting Lamoriello to cut him loose from the last year of his contract (why would Lamoriello really want a coach who didn't want to be there anyway?) is his brother was still around to give him a job.
Darryl could never quite get his San Jose team over the top when he coached there and could never quite replicate the success of that 2004 team in Calgary after he moved upstairs to the GM's chair. He has pretty much made a hash of things in Calgary. Not only has the team lost its identity, but it has also suffered from significant personnel gaffes. The Flames have failed to get out of the first round four straight seasons and went completely off the rails for long periods of the regular season during that span.
And then there was the disaster at the end of this past regular season after Darryl rolled the dice and took on Olli Jokinen from Phoenix at the trade deadline and then didn't have the cap space to replace injured players. How does that happen?
Apart from being an embarrassment to the league, it sure doesn't look good on your managerial résumé when you can't ice a full team. And how much did playing short-handed for weeks leading up to the playoffs hamper the team's efforts to get by an inexperienced Chicago team? Hard to tell, but usually when you ask those kinds of questions, you're also asking who is the next GM in Calgary.
Instead, Darryl stays and adds another layer of Sutter to the proceedings. No shortage of barnyard references coming up, but hard to imagine it will yield anything but the usual result in Cowtown.
Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.
The Sutter family's reputation was built on grit and character, but Darryl's move to bring in brother Brent as Calgary coach could diminish all of that.