Sutter to hit the ice

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:43 PM ET

Good thing they don't keep plus-minus statistics at the Esso 3-on-3 Pond Hockey Classic. Not our words, it's the feeling of Calgary Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter.

"I'll probably be minus-100," Sutter joked yesterday.

Seeing as that nasty little thing called the NHL lockout has left Sutter with a free weekend, he'll be skating in the fund-raising tournament today at the Corral.

"I haven't been around that much. I was hesitant about it because it's the only Saturday I've been here in three or four months," said Sutter, who's used the time to scout games and gain a handle on potential players out there. "You'd be hard-pressed to see more games than I have."

As of last report -- remember, Lanny McDonald was once traded just before the games began for a bag of bagels -- Sutter was going to skate on the Chicago team alongside Flames assistant coach Rich Preston.

"He's going to be our offensive weapon. We'll just leave him in front of the opposition's net," Preston said, before getting in a good jab. "Darryl never really was a good skater but he could score goals so we'll tell him to save his energy. Just stand there and we'll get the puck to him."

Flames assistant Jim Playfair also is playing. He was traded from Edmonton to Buffalo a couple of days ago. Goaltending coach David Marcoux is on standby in case a goalie can't play.

Sutter was going to partake in the first year of the 3-on-3 tournament but the weather -- it was so cold they moved the event indoors at the last moment -- prevented him from making the trek to Calgary from the family farm in Viking.

Therefore, suiting up today is a rarity. In fact, he doesn't remember the last time he actually played in a game.

"That's a good question," he said, scanning the files in his memory banks. "Probably with the alumni in Chicago years ago. I think it was against the Hollywood all-stars. That was a long time ago."

Despite the long, long layoff, Sutter hasn't been ramping up a training program. He did skate Thursday night but that was part of a charity on-ice session with a group of youngsters.

"I thought my skates were at the Saddledome but they weren't, so I had (team service manager) Kelly Chesla's on and they were two sizes too small," he said. "I'm not going to go out two days before and improve on something."


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