Did Brent Sutter Play Lou Lamoriello Like a Fiddle?

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Did Brent Sutter Play Lou Lamoriello Like a Fiddle?
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Brent Sutter has been named head coach of the Calgary Flames.

Meanwhile, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello and Devils fans and players are left feeling like a jilted bride.

There, it's official now.  After weeks of speculation, we now see the end result.  It shouldn't have been a big surprise.

I am not sure how one could think anything else beyond the fact that the Sutter Clan pulled a fast one on Lamoriello. 

Sutter, contemplating his decision on whether or not to return to New Jersey, seemingly took forever to decide. 

During all of this, Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter fired head coach Mike Keenan and stated he had no replacement. 

In fact, the Calgary Herald quoted Darryl Sutter on May 26 that "all the best coaches in the league are under contract. I think there are three guys (in that group) who are excellent. I won't tell you who they are. And I'm fourth."  I guess it isn't too hard to fathom that Darryl was thinking of his brother Brent.

Finally, on June 9, Brent Sutter resigned as head coach of the New Jersey Devils, citing family and personal business reasons.  He was quoted that day in a conference call from Alberta by the Newark Star-Leger as follows:

"Personally, I could care less what other people think. People out here aren't going to say that because they know what I have here. People there may say it.  I don't look at it at all as I'm quitting on anything. I took two years of my life and made a big commitment 2,000 miles away. By me doing that, my life suffered in other areas. When it involves family and personal things that you throw everything into, ultimately you have to make certain decisions."

Well, I guess it is now apparent why Brent was so certain that the people in Alberta won't think Brent was a quitter.  After all, he has now returned home to coach their local team. 

Who cares that the Devils took Brent Sutter in and reportedly made him the second highest paid coach in the NHL, only to take his two years of salary and run home to Calgary afterward?

It seems that Devils GM Lamoriello, historically known for being a stickler for the rules, and making people live up to their commitments, tried to do the right thing here. 

Brent Sutter complained of being home sick and having personal business to take care of back in Alberta, so Lou stood aside, allowing Sutter to resign as coach and didn't try to talk him out of it. 

How does Brent Sutter pay back Lou, the Devils, and the fans?  By waiting a whole two weeks to take another NHL job.

I guess that must've been a monumental two weeks where Brent Sutter was able to work through all the problems he was having on the home front and in his business dealings of his ranch and the Red Deer Rebels.  After all, Sutter claimed he was citing personal business to take care of back in Alberta.

Unfortunately, it is strikingly ironic to me that on the day Lamoriello was inducted (and rightfully so mind you) into the Hockey Hall of Fame, that he was cast in such a bad light and left with egg on his face after such a classless act by the Sutter brothers. 

Lou recruited Brent Sutter for years to become the Devils head coach, paid him lots of money, and essentially got stabbed in the back for his efforts.

Thank you Brent, you were a great coach for two seasons here. If you went home to be with the family, or to take care of personal business, that would be one thing. I wouldn't be close to complaining about it. 

However, taking the NHL job in Calgary for next season is showing a lack of respect to the New Jersey Devils, Jeff Vanderbeek, Lamoriello, and all of the players and fans. 

It also makes any kind words Sutter may have thrown in the direction of the Devils basically worthless. 

Here's hoping the Calgary Flames fall short of any of their goals in the 2009-10 season, and that Sutter is forced to visit Newark next year and get the big boo he rightfully deserves from the Devils fan base.

And even beyond then, I will never take Brent Sutter at his word, even if a lot of people, including myself, saw this coming. 

It's a shame Devils management tried to do right by Sutter, because Sutter certainly didn't do right by the New Jersey Devils.

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