SUN Hockey Pool

Sutter stays the course

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:06 AM ET

The cancellation of the formal NHL Entry Draft won't change Darryl Sutter's preparation for the annual event. If the Calgary Flames head coach/GM had his way, the draft would always be done by conference call, so yesterday's announcement doesn't alter his game plan.

"To be honest, it doesn't throw any kind of a wrench into our plans," said Sutter yesterday. "I hope the kids in this draft understand there will be a draft at some point. It may not be as soon as they wish for it."

The NHL lockout has forced the league to drop the Ottawa Senators' plans to host the June 25-26 draft. The league has been consistent in saying it would not hold a draft until a new CBA is in place.

Once that happens, the league will hold the draft via conference call and could throw it together quickly. There is an outside chance the top prospects could be invited to a mini-draft for two rounds.

The people most affected by a complete cancellation are the projected first- and second-round picks. They won't hear their name called in the Corel Centre and get to pull on the team jersey on the big stage.

"For as many that get to do that, there's 500 that don't," said Sutter. "I've sat through a lot of drafts and I've seen a lot of kids sit there for two days. As much elation as there is for 20 or 30 kids, there's that much disappointment for 100 more."

Sutter's scouting staff will go about business as usual until the date of the scheduled event passes. The Flames staff will then start evaluating next year's crop of prospects as well as the likes of Sidney Crosby and Co.

"Once we get past June, we're starting to work towards the next year, the '88 birthdates," said Sutter.

"In a lot of ways, we're prepared for June but we're almost getting ready for two drafts. In some ways there's more work for us. But we'll be totally prepared for it."

Flames president Ken King isn't happy the event is postponed because it means the lockout isn't about to end soon.

"Any time the normal cycle of business is interrupted for any reason it's disheartening for everybody involved," King said.


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