What the Devil's going on?

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

Brent Sutter's character will be brought into question.

Not just by New Jersey Devils fans, either.

Rarely does someone who fails to honour the full length of a contract, then signs up for the same job with another employer, avoid a few stares of disgust.

Even if that new employer happens to be your brother.

Barring some sort of Father's Day brotherly brunch brawl or a sudden change of heart, Sutter is expected to become head coach of the Calgary Flames, where he'll work under the watch of big brother and GM Darryl.

According to a report on TSN, the move will be announced tomorrow.

Seems like a match made in heaven to most hockey fans in Calgary, who were demanding a Sutter take over behind the bench. Darryl was one option. Brent might be the best one.

Although he's coached just two seasons in the NHL -- both with the Devils before backing out of his final year to be closer to home and his family just west of Red Deer -- Brent Sutter has earned a spot in conversations about the best coaches out there.

He cut his chops guiding young players in the WHL for seven seasons with the Red Deer Rebels, the junior team he owns.

A couple of consecutive world junior gold medals for Team Canada in 2005 and 2006 under his tutelage made Sutter the most sought-after free-agent bench boss for the 2007-08 NHL campaign.

He landed with GM Lou Lamoriello's Devils and took them to the playoffs with 46- and 51-win seasons, thanks to a defensive system that made goalie Scott Clemmensen appear as good as future Hall-of-Famer Martin Brodeur when the latter missed more than three months of action.

Despite first-round exits both years, his departure left a bad taste in the mouths of the Devils' faithful.

And they were angry before he began negotiations with the Flames.

"Personally, I could care less what other people think," Sutter said upon leaving his post. "People (in Alberta) aren't going to say that because they know what I have here. People (in Jersey) may say it."

But even some Flames fans are surprised.

Others admit they'd be downright angry if the shoe was on the other foot and they'd just lost a great coach in that fashion.

Many league insiders are even expressing quiet shock Lamoriello would give permission for the talks to take place when he could have prevented Sutter from coaching the entire year because he's still technically under contract.

Commissioner Gary Bettman, who seems to have his nose in every aspect of league business, might have been wise to put added pressure on Lamoriello to hold Sutter back just for appearance's sake.

A quick glance at the proceedings -- from Mike Keenan's firing, to Brent Sutter's resignation, to his current discussion with the Flames -- and you can't help but raise your eyebrow and wonder just how convenient the whole mess is for the Sutters.

Truth be told, all those who have a problem with it should hope to one day work for an employer so forgiving and accommodating.

Lamoriello should be praised for giving a guy the opportunity to both continue his NHL coaching career while enjoying the luxury of his family life.

"I'm certainly disappointed, but I understand his reason for it," Lamoriello said recently. "I think Brent did an excellent job."

But his performance was about to be affected by his personal life, and Sutter had to get away.

Whether or not he coached this year was irrelevant ... whether you believe him or not.

"People think of me only as an NHL coach, but there's more to Brent Sutter than that," he said during his press conference in Red Deer after he made his decision.

"My family's given up a lot. They're happy and excited about the decision I made. I had a lot of sleepless nights going through the process. You get into a position like that, you have to be fully committed. And I was, for two years.

"The game isn't everything. It isn't the do-all, end-all. Some people think it is.

"It's not."

With the Flames, Brent will enjoy the best of both worlds.


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