Sutter watch on as Flames struggle

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:26 PM ET

The Calgary Flames hadn’t even returned home from their latest loss when word starting spreading Darryl Sutter had been fired Saturday night.

“Not true,” declared Flames president Ken King just as the team’s charter arrived from Pittsburgh, prompting him to address the team immediately, informing them talk of their GM’s demise was untrue.

Perhaps the rumours began when someone noticed Sutter left the team after the game in Pittsburgh and did not join the club for the flight home. (Sutter stayed out east to do some scouting).

Either way, it’s clear despite word from owner Murray Edwards in Sunday’s Sun the club plans on staying the course, the Darryl Sutter Watch is now officially on — be it fabricated or not.

With three wins in their last 14 outings, the Flames are at their lowest point since Sutter arrived in December 2002.

And the growing belief is that, at some point, someone is going to have to pay for that.

While that makes some critics happy, such chatter will do little to help the team crawl out of the hole it’s been digging the first seven weeks of the season.

Now for more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world wondering if the same Mike Richards demanding P.K. Subban show respect is the same lad who almost ended David Booth’s career with a vicious head-shot last year.

Around the horn

Pat Burns will be laid to rest Monday, making it fitting to point out one of his greatest legacies revolved around the emotion he displayed behind the bench. When was the last time you saw a modern-day coach so much as smile during a game? … Lost in a recent Boston Bruins win over the Florida Panthers was one of the most shocking stat lines seen this year as Panthers forward Booth had 14 shots on goal as well as 14 missed shots … (Another) great tweet fromPhoenix Coyotes winger Paul Bissonnette after playing six minutes in a recent game: “With warmup, I played

21 minutes. Who’s the plug now? Boom.” … With 12 wins in his first 12 NHL fights, Chicago Blackhawks tough-guy John Scott may just be the next heavyweight champion. According to him, it’s not just his 6-ft-8, 258-lb. frame that helps win battles like the one that bloodied Los Angeles Kings enforcer Kevin Westgarth Saturday: “I got long arms, kind of like a monkey-armed baboon swinging away.” The result for Westgarth from Saturday night’s fight at the Staples Center was a broken nose.

Parting gifts

Must have crushed Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk to see former employee Dany Heatley single-handedly beat the Edmonton Oilers Saturday with two goals and an assist: “I wouldn’t even give him the time of day — it’s not even worth a comment,” said Melnyk when asked about Heatley before the game. “He doesn’t warrant even a mention.” The Senators and Heatley are still waiting for an arbitrator to hear Melnyk’s case as he looks to recoup damages from Heatley’s trade demand and messy departure from the nation’s capital, which includes a US$4-million lump-sum payment the owner was forced to give Heatley on July 1, 2009, after Heatley refused a deal to the Oilers … With Peter Forsberg skating again and refusing to retire (although a comeback is a long shot) it reminds us Foppa’s one of the few players in NHL history who finished all 13 seasons of his career as a plus-player … Daymond Langkow update: The Flames forward is still waiting for numbness and tingling to settle, stemming from his neck injury last year. He’s still unable to get back to skating … Interesting debate for the holidays: Which team’s future has been set back further with their costly big-name acquisitions — the Toronto Maple Leafs or the New Jersey Devils? … Yes, Montreal, the Canadian football world wanted to you to lose Sunday’s Grey Cup game. How perceptive of you to notice … Great line from Hockey Night In Canada’s Ron MacLean after Kevin Weekes was almost run over by a Zamboni during his introduction of Saturday’s late game on CBC from Edmonton: “Kevin was always weak on the blocker side,” MacLean said. “You could drive a Zamboni through that space there.”

eric.francis@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ericfrancis

Eric Francis appears regularly as a panellist on Satellite Hotstove on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada


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