Sutter ready for summer to end

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

Brent Sutter was in attendance at the Country Hills golf course. Being at the Calgary Flames' annual charity golf tournament is part of the gig for the new head coach.

However, Sutter's mind was at the Saddledome.

"It seems like these last two weeks have been dragging on," Sutter said. "We're ready to get going here. We'll let the guys enjoy their last weekend with their families and get the young kids in on Tuesday and get at it."

Rookie camp begins Tuesday and the main camp starts next Saturday, and since taking the reins in late June, Sutter has been planting seeds.

He's spent much of the past two-and-a-half months talking to the players, getting a chance to know them and allowing them to know him.

"It's been a really good summer that way. I communicated with everybody initially and then communicated a lot with the core group of guys," he said. "I got to spend some time one-on-one with them at different points.

"It's forming relationships and getting to know the guys. I know them as players -- it's getting to know them as people. It's a great group of men."

The big message has been how the Flames will be more accountable defensively this season after finishing 23rd in goals against last season.

"A lot of teams do a lot of things the same way. It's about the ones that do it better," Sutter said.

"I want to be a team good on both sides of the puck, keep quality scoring chances down, keep the shot totals down.

"That allows your goaltenders to play at the level you want them to play at, they want to play at and their teammates want them to play at."

The players are looking forward to a more structured team.

"I don't know if I've played with a coach that has tilted more that way," said defenceman Cory Sarich. "It'll be interesting to see how it affects my game. Anybody thinking defence, I'm thinking I can get on the same wavelength.

"It'll take time to work things out, but there will be a lot of direction, which is a great thing for our group."

The group gets a fresh start under Sutter.

"I want camp to be an exciting time for everybody," Sutter said. "The biggest thing for me on Day 1 is that guys come in and are really looking forward to the upcoming year. Let's have some excitement because it should be an exciting time. We've got a quality group of players.

"Now it's just getting it all meshed together."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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