The Brent Sutter Saga: One Day Later

JerseySenior Analyst IJune 22, 2009

NEWARK, NJ - JULY 13: General Manager Lou Lamoriello of the New Jersey Devils introduces his new head coach Brent Sutter at a news conference on July 13, 2007 at the National Newark Building in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Yesterday, it was announced that Brent Sutter was close to a deal that would have him working for his brother, Darryl, as coach of the Calgary Flames. This report has sparked a great deal of discussion among Devils fans, as many questions have been flying around.

On the one hand, there have been questions about how this may or may not affect the Devils: Sutter is still under contract with the Devils, so how could Calgary even talk to him?

Did Lou Lamoriello grant them permission? Did he ask for compensation? Could we be dealing with a tampering situation?

On the other, there have been questions about what this means for Brent Sutter: Does this set a new precedent that coaches can just back out of contracts to join other teams?

Did he flat-out lie when he said he wanted to go home to his family just a few weeks ago? Was he discussing the situation with his brother (despite denying it was ever an issue) while still under contract with the Devils?

Simply put, Sutter comes out of this looking like a complete jerk, and the major questions surround how he even legally got to Calgary in the first place.

Unfortunately, not many details have surface. All we have is the original report from TSN (which was followed up by every major sports outlet in the nation), which simply states that this is going down.

So how did he wind up there? Well, the report says that they must have received permission from the Devils, or this wouldn't have even happened. But that does not mean they actually got it; it just seems that way.

I'm no conspiracy theorist, and I'm not about to accuse the Flames of collusion, but I do find it hard to believe that Lamoriello would just let Sutter go. It would be a tremendous slap in the face to the Devils, and Lou would not let that happen.

And regardless of the situation, Lou is known for finagling every penny and getting what he can from every asset. He wouldn't give the man up for free.

But one day later, there have been no details. We don't know what the Flames gave up to speak to Sutter, and we don't know if they spoke to him illegally before receiving permission.

The only wrinkle in the story is that the official announcement has been pushed off until Tuesday, when it was originally thought to come as early as Sunday. Could there have been a hang-up involving the coach's former team?

Interestingly, there has been no comment from the Flames to this point, and Lamoriello only recently broke his silence, saying a very loud "no comment." With such a tricky situation, you'd think the teams would be more vocal. We have no news from either side, just the original report that lacked any actual quotes.

But Lou's no-comment is a big deal. Had he just given the Flames permission, he would have just said that outright.

Instead, Lou is waiting to comment until after the deal is made official. What does this mean?

Did the Devils work out a compensation package? Lou is known to be tight-lipped on potential deals. Or perhaps he's waiting until after the announcement to file tampering charges.

This is all speculation, and we won't know anything until after tomorrow's press conference. But no matter the case, Sutter looks like a hypocrite.

He backed out of his contract, saying "I'm not a quitter," and ran home to his family and minor-league hockey team...only to return to the NHL moments later. This is a very fast turnaround that SCREAMS collusion, and at the very least shows where Sutter's intention truly lie.

He's not going to be able to micromanage his minor-league team, and he won't be spending much time with his family, despite Calgary's relative proximity to his home in Red Deer. The turnaround was extremely fast, too, faster than it took him to decide to resign in the first place. Sutter's initials (BS) seem to contain a double entendre.

Tom Gulitti is on vacation, and has yet to report on this, saying he'd just be regurgitating TSN's original report. But there are plenty of comments about the sitch on his blog, and you can follow that discussion here.