Flames Might Be Haunted By Family Drama

I continue to be shocked by the performance of Calgary coach Brent Sutter.

He was masterful with the Devils last season.

Now, working almost a whole season with a relatively talented Flames’ team, the Flames look like they’re going to miss the playoffs.

Not helping things is last night’s huge loss to the Islanders.

Sutter is presiding over a team that seems to be collapsing under the pressure of making the playoffs.

In terms of Xs and Os, Sutter has seemed solid enough. Defensively they often haven’t been very strong and offensively, things are down. They averaged 3.06 goals per game last season and this season they’re at 2.51.

So is this something Sutter can blame on previous coach Mike Keenan? Did Keenan’s angry, erratic coaching leave the team with a distrust of coaches? Is that why the Flames can’t execute for Sutter now?

It’s hard to say. But I keep coming back to the idea that the Flames were at their strongest under Darryl Sutter, now the team GM.

Darryl Sutter had the Flames flying when he coached and now, as GM, he has to notice the team has sputtered for the better part of this whole season.

As someone who’s successfully coached the same team (albeit with many different players), Darryl Sutter surely has thoughts on how to turn things around, either this season or next. Is he sharing these thoughts with Brent Sutter? Is Brent Sutter not listening?

In all probability, this season will end with the Flames out of the playoffs. I can’t imagine Brent Sutter would be fired after one bad season, but what will Brent Sutter do to turn things around? Is he open to listening to his brother? Or will family dynamics make him ignore any advice coming from a family member?

Darryl Sutter bringing his brother to Calgary seemed like a great idea last summer. It was a great coach joining a strong team. Now, it very much seems that you really shouldn’t work with family, because suddenly the redemption of the Calgary Flames caught up in sibling patterns and relationships.