SUN Hockey Pool

Flames coach sticks it to ref

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:23 PM ET

Brent Sutter wasn’t about to morph into Jim Playfair’s version of the Incredible Hulk.

But the Calgary Flames head coach was mighty angry late in Friday’s 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets when a second penalty shot was awarded to the visitors about halfway through the third period.

“I wasn’t going to take my sport jacket off,” Sutter said with a laugh Saturday.

“I wasn’t going to go to that extreme.”

He had every reason to be ticked.

Clinging to a one-goal lead in another critical game, the Flames disagreed with the idea defenceman Anton Babchuk threw his stick while trying to break up an Antoine Vermette break-away.

“I didn’t agree with the call on that,” Sutter said.

“It’s a pretty drastic call to make in a 4-3 hockey game. You look at the video and it’s clear he doesn’t throw his stick.”

In response, Sutter grabbed one of his players’ tools and slammed it against the boards to get the ref’s attention.

“It was mine,” said defenceman Cory Sarich, who left his lumber unattended for a split second.

“I was just grabbing a drink of water. I had it sitting beside me and I was putting a little water on my gloves, and he snatched it.

“I put it away. It’s been retired.

“I could give it back to him and he could hang it on his wall if he’d really like it — his first tirade in Calgary.”

Sutter has always been intense, but that was the first instance regulars at the Dome can recall seeing the coach stand on top of the bench while screaming at the men in stripes.

The hollow echo of the board blast with Sarich’s stick could be heard in the rafters, but Sutter walked the fine line of making his point heard and avoiding any further discipline from the referee.

“That’s as big as it gets when it comes to a play that’s gonna affect the game,” defenceman Mark Giordano said of the contested call.

“Me, personally, you love to see that stuff — guys getting emotional on the bench, whether it’s players or coaches.

“It’s a good thing. We’re all into the game. We all want the same result.

“I think Brent does a good job communicating with the refs for the most part, but once in a while, when you feel like you’re getting the short end of the stick, he stood up for the players.”

And he pushed the envelope without knocking it over the edge.

“He did a good job of getting the ref’s attention,” Giordano said with a grin.

“I think Sarchie had to change his stick maybe after that.

“The ref came over, and he told him what he thought. You can push them to a certain point.

“As long as you don’t get personal and start the name-calling and that, I think they’re fine with it.”


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