Brent Sutter, head coach of the New Jersey Devils decided to resign.
Sutter resigned via a conference call from his home in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. Sutter who, during the season had stated a desire to be closer to home, made that decision permanent by resigning today.
I cannot say I am all that surprised. I am surprised that in Sutter’s press conference he did not thank the players or the fans. This was a cowardly way to resign and as a Devil fan, but you cannot be too upset about it. He said he was not a quitter. Ok, maybe he is just a resigner.
Sutter was a very good regular season coach, and possibly the best regular season coach in Devil history after this season’s Atlantic Division title without having Martin Brodeur for most of the season.
The only thing to be upset about is the timing. The Devils have been off for the last six weeks and if Sutter knew he was staying in Red Deer, he should have made it easier for the organization to find his replacement.
But in the NHL, it is all about the last two months of the season, not the first six.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs were not kind to Sutter. Two first-round exits were embarrassing. In the 2008 playoffs, the rival Rangers knocked the Devils out in five games. The Devils had home ice in the series and lost all three games at the Prudential Center.
In the 2009 playoffs, the Devils blew a three games to two lead, and in game seven gave up two goals in the final 90 seconds of game seven and lost the series and the game 4-3.
In the past, Devils CEO, President and General Manager, Lou Lamoriello would have fired a coach after two straight first round exits. But, he did not this time.
Noted penny pincher, Lamoriello is probably doing back flips that he did not have to fire Sutter and now does not have to pay him.
The possible list of candidates looks something like this:
(Let me know if there is a candidate you think I missed. But, knowing Lou, the next coach of the Devils is not on my list.)