Money no factor in double-duty idea

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

Rumours of Darryl Sutter's contract expiring next year have led to the idea any return to the bench would be based on two factors.

First, the Calgary Flames ownership group trying to save some cash since they're already on the hook for a believed $1 million for outgoing head coach Mike Keenan.

Second, that Sutter wants to save his job by getting the most out of the team he's put together. Both are untrue.

In fact, Sutter's contract doesn't expire -- ever.

"Darryl does not have another year left on his contract. Darryl has an employment agreement that does not have an end term to it," said Flames president Ken King.

"It's unique in the league and it's the best thing to build a long and deep relationship.

"As part of our culture, we've deviated from that norm, and it's a very positive situation."

Both sides have out-clauses, but a ticking clock on a contract isn't putting pressure on Sutter to perform.

Which means a return to double duty would be Sutter's choice, not a call from above.

The money being paid for the final year on Keenan's contract "has no bearing" on the new coach, said King.

A technically infinite employment deal doesn't preclude Sutter from pressure, however. All ranks of management feel it from owners who desperately want to take the next step 20 years removed from its only Stanley Cup.

"The demands that our ownership group put on myself and our entire management team and Darryl are the same demands that ... the 20,000 people that come to see us every night," said King.

"They expect us to put out a rock-solid team. They're very satisfied with much of the work that has taken place, but like everyone, we have a very good team and they want it to be a great team."


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