Sutter faces dilemma as Flames GM/head coach

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:45 AM ET

Darryl Sutter has been wearing two hats for a while. Yesterday, he refused to indicate whether he plans to remove either one.

There has been a lot of speculation the Calgary Flames GM/head coach would relinquish his coaching duties sooner rather than later and focus fully on being a GM.

But Sutter said yesterday he's not quite ready to make, or at least announce, that determination.

"I've thought about it but I don't think I've made that decision," he said as his charges cleaned out their stalls at the Saddledome. "My thought process was that (I'd make that decision) after hockey's over. There's still playoffs going on.

"At the end of the day, I'm going to do what's right for our players."

While some observers feel the double duty is too much for one person to handle in today's NHL, Sutter pointed out his resume has looked pretty good with the Flames so far.

"It's been possible," he said with a smirk after a reporter asked if it was possible to do both jobs efficiently. "It's worked pretty well."

Hard to argue that fact as the Flames have turned from perennial playoff spectators to legitimate contenders in a matter of two full seasons.

Flames captain Jarome Iginla said he has no idea which way Sutter is leaning but has the players' complete confidence as a coach.

"I have no idea. It hasn't been talked about all year," said Iginla when asked whether he thought Sutter would be back behind the bench next season.

"He's a very good coach -- his record has been great. We really moved up as a team. He's been very good for his club. He's very demanding but, as a player, you appreciate the up-frontness and open lines of communications in terms of where you stand and what's expected."

First-year Flame Darren McCarty has heard all the speculation, which ranges from Sutter replacing himself with one of his brothers -- either Brent or Brian -- to promoting current assistant Jim Playfair to the role.

He said whatever happens won't change the team's identity.

"Speculate this, speculate that but whoever it is, if it's not him, it's somebody who's got strong Sutter principles," said McCarty. "What we're striving to do here and what's important here won't change, whether it's Darryl doing things from upstairs -- if that's what he chooses -- and having somebody else behind the bench, or keep going the way it is.

"This is a Sutter-style team, regardless."

Iginla added the organization will continue in the positive direction it's headed no matter what Sutter ultimately decides.

"If he does choose to step away, we won't be upset with him," said Iginla. "We respect that he's one of the very few that do both jobs. If he comes back, that would be great, too."


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