Another Sutter in Calgary?

ERIC FRANCIS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

While conventional wisdom suggests Mike Keenan will be fired if the Flames' recent slide results in another first round loss, the veteran coach may get to stay another year thanks to Brent Sutter.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Even though it's Darryl Sutter who will ultimately decide if Iron Mike gets to start the final season of his three-year deal, Brent's future could very well play a large part in the equation.

Despite being in the second year of a long-term deal with the New Jersey Devils, Brent has hinted all year long his days with the Eastern Conference club may be numbered.

He misses his family in Sylvan Lake, his junior team in Red Deer and the farming lifestyle on his ranch.

All that can be remedied if the following were to unfold:

Sutter is the odds-on favourite to be named head coach of Canada's Olympic team at the conclusion of the NHL playoffs. After all, the second-year Devils coach has a perfect record with Canada at the World Juniors and he's already one of the premier coaches in today's game.

Sutter could then resign and move back to Alberta, where he could work closely with Hockey Canada officials while living at home and scouting players coming through Western Canada.

Once the Olympics are complete, the door would be open for him to replace Keenan as the Flames next coach, bringing the number of Sutter brothers employed by the club to four. Darryl's son is a club farmhand.

With knowledge of Brent's imminent return to Alberta and desire to coach close to home, Darryl would be hesitant to fire Keenan prematurely and hire another coach to bridge the short gap until Brent is available.

When asked of the scenario, Sutter was obviously unable to comment in any way.

Brent wouldn't tip his hat either, since the coach-of-the-year candidate is in the midst of trying to prepare for a lengthy Stanley Cup run.

Now, more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world with a text for Oilers owner Daryl Katz: C U nxt year.

AROUND THE HORN

Reason No. 67 the Detroit Red Wings are still the class of the NHL: Niklas Kronwall is their third-best defenceman. He'd be a franchise blueliner on 20 other teams ... Who else but Craig MacTavish can you pin the blame on when a team so full of young talent is kept on the periphery of a playoff race solely by a 39-year-old goalie the team was originally planning to cast off at season's end? ... ESPN Radio jacked up its rates immensely in what some believe to be an effort to force local sports radio stations like the FAN 960 in Calgary to drop their service -- The FAN has already picked up Fox Sports -- and open the door for the possibility of TSN Radio to hit the airwaves. TSN is part-owned by ESPN ... Catriona Le May Doan, on what's tougher -- speed skating or motherhood: "In speed skating, you only have 37 seconds to screw up. Parents have a lifetime."

PARTING GIFTS

Those who thought the Flames' mullet-infested Red Hot video from the '80s was cheesy need to check out the New York Rangers ad for Sasson jeans on YouTube. Those who thought Phil Esposito's most embarrassing moment was as Tampa Bay Lightning GM will get a new perspective ... Ryan Smyth's brothers, Kevin and Jared, along with Jim Vandermeer's brother Joe are likely Allan Cup-bound once again as their Bentley Generals -- coached by Brian Sutter -- went into last night's fourth game up 2-1 in their best-of-five McKenzie Cup series against Fort St. John ... While bobsleigh officials are thrilled Jesse Lumsden raised the profile of their sport at the recent Canadian championships, what does it say about a discipline when after just a few weeks of training you can become a national champion?


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