The news of Mike Keenan’s firing in Calgary today did not affect me personally, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how bad this is for Devils fans. Things appear to be lining up almost too perfectly for a deathblow.
Don't think Brent Sutter, currently in the midst of his yearly offseason evaluation, is going to seriously consider this Calgary job? Before you answer, consider the following:
1. Location, Location, Location.
The Sutters live in Red Deer, Alberta, almost exactly halfway between Edmonton and...yup...Calgary. If one of Brent's issues is the distance from his family, which makes more sense, traveling across the continent to New Jersey, or a quick shot down Highway 2?
2. Brotherly Love
Brent's brother Daryl is currently the Flames' GM. You don't think he'll pull a Doug Wilson and at least consider hiring his dear brother? The Sutters are of the same head, they think the same way. It's a similar bond that Sutter has to Lou Lamoriello, except for the being related part.
3. Workin' Hard, or Hardly Workin'?
Everything about the Calgary Flames makes the situation hard to ignore for Brent. Despite having an all-star goaltender, a franchise player, and a capable veteran core surrounded by young talent, perhaps Brent can push the right buttons and get this team over its apparent hump. The Flames haven't won a playoff series since the run to the Finals in 2004. While Sutter hasn't won a playoff series with the Devils either, the thought may occur in the heads of both that by combining these two snake-bitten forces, success can be found.
In my opinion, Brent Sutter is the perfect coach for the Devils, and I really hope he doesn't leave, at least until he finishes out the last year of his contract coming up this season, and I hope he stays far longer than that. But it would be foolish to look at all the variables that appear to be lining up and say that there isn’t a possibility of Sutter resigning and taking the Calgary job. Unfortunately, it's more possible than we'd like to think.