West puts best foot forward

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:10 PM ET


 The two Western Conference final head coaches left the war of words to John Tortorella and Ken Hitchcock.

 Ron Wilson and Darryl Sutter opted yesterday to be more diplomatic in speaking out against coaches trash-talking opposition players from the bench.

 Their views came a day after Tortorella, bench boss of the Tampa Bay Lightning, tongue-lashed Philadelphia Flyers head coach Hitchcock for exchanging words with his Lightning players during the game.

 "Whatever they've got going on, fine," said Sutter, GM/head coach of the Calgary Flames. "It's not about coaches. It's about the players."

 The latter statement echoed what Tortorella said in a tirade -- which included the remarks 'Park your ego' and 'Shut your yap' -- aimed at Hitchcock.

 "Like (my assistant coach) Tim Hunter says, 'It's about accountability,' " said Wilson, head coach of the San Jose Sharks. "Coaches shouldn't yell at (opposition) players on the ice because you're never going to be held accountable for what you say. You're putting other people at risk.

 "I understand John Tortorella being upset with the other coach for yelling at the other players. I don't think that's really necessary and I know Darryl doesn't do it. And I would have a beef if Darryl did do it. But he's got too much class for that."

 Sutter, however, doesn't believe he has the vocabulary for a potential war of words with Wilson.

 "I can't get into it with Ron like that anyway because he's better spoken than I am," said Sutter, underestimating his own heralded ability to debate with the best of his opponents, although he might need to be censored.

 Added Wilson: "We can exchange nicknames from 20 years ago or something and sling some mud."


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