Sutter's future in Lou's hands

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

Brent Sutter walked away from the New Jersey Devils.

Whether he'll be walking into the doors of the Saddledome as coach of the Calgary Flames is still anybody's guess.

Sutter yesterday decided to leave his post as head coach of the Devils with one year remaining on his contract, and rampant speculation is he'll join brother Darryl Sutter to take the coaching reins of the Flames, who are looking for a bench boss after firing Mike Keenan last month.

However, Brent Sutter said he hasn't considered it and wouldn't even tip his hand as to whether he'd consider taking a job where his brother is GM.

"I've had zero contact with Darryl and the Calgary Flames or anyone with the Flames organization," he said yesterday during a media conference in Red Deer. "I don't know what their plans are."

Darryl Sutter has gone under of a cone of silence in regards to his coaching search, while Devils GM Lou Lamoriello refused to discuss whether he would even allow another team to hire Brent Sutter.

"I was asked the question if I was done with the National Hockey League and I said no," Sutter said. "For me to move forward with another team in the National Hockey League, that team would have to go through Lou Lamoriello and the New Jersey Devils."

Sutter said he and Lamoriello never discussed the possibility of him coaching the Flames.

"Lou is the general manager, CEO and president of the New Jersey Devils. He's got to do what's right for New Jersey too. I respect that. Does that mean anything as far as my own situation? I don't know," he said. "The whole thought process was about getting to this point, deciding whether I was going to go back or not. My decision now has been made, and now I can move forward.

"Does that give an opportunity for a team to pick up the phone and call Lou? Sure it does. Does that mean Lou's going to give permission? No, it doesn't."

Over two seasons with Sutter as coach, the Devils posted a 97-56-11 record, but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs both seasons.

Sutter said that disappointment didn't weigh into his decision, insisting it was strictly due to family.

"I made a big commitment two years ago to move 3,000 miles away to coach the New Jersey Devils and help them accomplish their goals. Unfortunately, we never won the Stanley Cup," he said. "It became a big part of my life the past two years, but it affected other parts of my life. Not just mine but others around me that are bigger than the game. When I sat back after the season, I knew I had to go through a process moving forward to make the right decision.

"This game isn't everything. Sometimes we get caught up in thinking this is the do-all, end-all. It's truly not. That's why I made my decision."

Sutter also owns a ranch outside Red Deer as well as the WHL Rebels, who have floundered the past couple of seasons in his absence. He said Jesse Wallin will remain the Rebels head coach.

In fact, Sutter said he doesn't know how much he'll dive into the operation.

"What transpires going forward? I'm content in coming back here and helping out, working on the ranch and being closer to my family," he said.


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