One last Devils post for the weekend. From George Johnson's article in the Calgary Herald yesterday:
"I’m employed by the New Jersey Devils,’’ repeated Brent Sutter, who has one year remaining on his deal in the swamplands. "I haven’t talked to Darryl much even as a brother since I’ve been back home. I’m just trying to sort through some things right now, to see what I want to do. Mr. Lamoriello and I have always taken this year by year. I haven’t thought about anything like that.’’
This is entirely consistent to what Chere reported after Mike Keenan was fired by Calgary earlier last week.
Those speculating are probably going to ignore this quote, but it's important to highlight. Brent Sutter has been upfront about Lou's knowledge of this situation, that Sutter goes through this process every year, and that he's still with the Devils until otherwise. This statement is entirely consistent with all of this. Therefore, I still expect Sutter to return.
Alas, there is a media narrative to push and that is to speculate Sutter's return to Calgary. Nevermind the fact that the sources of his homesickness: his family, his ranch, and the Red Deer Rebels would still be away from him as a NHL coach in Calgary. If anything, by being closer, they could prove to be more of a distraction as his businesses and family will expect him to be around more because he'll be in Calgary. Yet, because he'd be the head coach of a NHL team, he'll be with the team more often than not as that is his job. His attention and focus will be entirely with the team and not his businesses and family - he'll still be away from them even if they are geographically closer to his job.
Of course, that's just speculation on my part. As always, I could be wrong about all of that. Speaking of speculation, check out this "gem" of an article Larry Brooks had on the subject in the NY Post today. (Assist: Thanks to Don for pointing this article out to me in an e-mail). If anything, this sums up the media's thought process of this narrative that they are pushing: Brent Sutter is homesick, a job just opened up in Calgary, he's from Calgary, and so why won't Lou let him go? That's the logic Brooks presents and nothing more than that causes him to plead that Lou should release him. Unfortunately, it's also an example of some poor reporting. I'm not being facetious, he actually wrote this:
There is no point in holding him hostage to a contract. There is no point in holding the Devils hostage to a lame duck whose authority over the team would invariably be compromised. There is no point to having a short-timer in control of the operation.
Indeed, following a stretch in which the Devils chewed up eight coaches in seven seasons (including Larry Robinson twice and Lamoriello himself twice) that featured two Stanley Cup championships and one other appearance in the Final, it appeared that the team had found its man. Now, not, for if Sutter's return is not quite implausible, it is unworkable, and Lamoriello must know that.
Hostages? Unworkable? Does Brooks even state why this is unworkable; something Sutter has done last season? (Aside: And still came back! I know! It's like it never happened!) Does Brooks know that Lou is already aware about the process and that it happened last year? Does Brooks know what Brent Sutter has been saying on the subject? Does Brooks have anything that suggests that anyone is at hostage here? No, he states his feelings on the process, provides nothing to support his thoughts, and just moves on to already name coaching replacements - finally ending that Sutter was a "great fit." If Sutter was a great fit and the right man for the job, why should Lou just let Sutter walk for nothing at all, Mr. Brooks? We don't get an answer for that and something tells me we won't get one from Brooks. After all, it's not so much reporting as it is a plead for the Devils to rid themselves of a coach who has made the team better overall. He'll just continue to paint Lou as some kind of bad guy for not letting a great coach go, or that this is a detriment to the team - with or without evidence to support this claim. Because, hey, that's the decided-upon narrative. Can't have anything go against the narrative.
Speculators will continue to speculate and hope it'll happen because I suppose they'll have nothing better to do. Hopefully, proper reporters like George Johnson and Rich Chere will grab the attention on this issue as they utilize what Brent Sutter actually said and note that this is not a new process. I only highlight Brooks' article here to highlight how bad it can be.
My original thoughts on the situation haven't changed and I don't think they should now that Mike Keenan was fired, as far as I'm still concerned. I still expect Sutter to return and I would honestly be shocked if he left the Devils to coach in Calgary, Edmonton, or anywhere else.