SUN Hockey Pool

Playfair withstands heat

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

Jim Playfair has heard the discussions about his job security.

The Calgary Flames head coach is keenly aware GM Darryl Sutter didn't exactly give him a ringing vote of confidence in Monday's Sun.

But Playfair accepts the scrutiny and circumstances.

"That's this job. It's a results business," he said last night.

The rookie head coach has been under the gun of late, especially after his squad returned home from yet another futile road trip with losses in Colorado and Phoenix last week.

Certainly more results like last night's 5-2 dismantling of the Phoenix Coyotes will make Playfair's life easier.

"It's not about my job being easier or harder," he said.

"It's about us finding ways to be a really consistent, effective team that can win consistently in the hard areas, win little battles, win periods and then win games. It's not about my job being hard or easy. It's about winning."

Sutter declined Sunday to give Playfair a vote of confidence, saying "I don't even want to publicly comment."

Flames forward Tony Amonte believes speculation Playfair could be replaced this season is misguided.

"It's not our decision as players anyway but the coach doesn't play in a game. It's the players on the ice, being committed and doing it themselves," said Amonte.

"It's probably the toughest job in the world, head coach, you get criticized every day for every decision. It's an easy way out to point the finger at one guy. It comes down to the guys in the locker-room."

At home, the Flames are the NHL's best team, boasting a 26-6-1 record. The team is among the top five in offensive production, has climbed the ladder in the powerplay rankings and starting to turn around what had been a horrific penalty killing mark.

The biggest criticisms are a diminished defensive performance, compared to the last couple of seasons, and -- more alarming -- a horrible 7-15-8 road record.

So, does Playfair go from a genius in the Saddledome to a dunce in every other building? Not a chance, said centre Daymond Langkow.

"It's us," he said. "There's no excuse for it. Especially with the way we play at home, it's unacceptable.

"He's our coach and regardless of what other people say or what's in the media, we have to go out there and do a job for him and for ourselves."


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