Speaking with Sutter

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

Darryl Sutter says he doesn't miss coaching, isn't concerned about Jim Playfair, nor is he worried about his team's slow start.

And for the ever-growing list of those worried the Flames won't be able to score enough goals in today's NHL, he has some advice: Read the media guide.

"Those who say that obviously haven't looked at our lineup," said the Flames GM who, until now, has remained relatively silent through the team's 3-5-1 start. "This team on paper is as good as any team in the conference. We have more 20-goal scorers than 11 other teams in the conference."

So why then, Darryl, does everyone in the city talk about the Flames lack of offence?

"For the most part members of the media are all experts and don't watch games and don't understand it," explained Sutter, who has spent three years defending his team's scoring potential and slamming those who question the obvious.

"It's not hard to figure out at all. On our last road trip the team scored 10 goals in the three games they lost. If our powerplay had scored two goals in the four game road trip we would have been 4-2 instead of 2-4. It's that simple and that close."

Truth is, the Flames ranked 27th in league scoring last year and currently sit 26th. Yes, it's early and, yes, the Flames have played the fewest games in the league.

But the club will clearly still struggle to keep up with most contenders on nights Miikka Kiprusoff isn't sharp.

While Matthew Lombardi looks poised to join the eight other Flames who've previously recorded 20-goal seasons, veterans like Jeff Friesen and Tony Amonte are now in roles that will likely see them score in single digits.

"Once all the skill guys get on the same page as they were (against Phoenix) we'll be fine," said Sutter, pointing out his division-winning club was 12th in powerplay goals last year and have since added Alex Tanguay.

"Panic was the norm around here and that's never going to work. The first 12 last year I think we were 4-7-1 -- there's not a lot of difference."

Asked how he thought rookie head coach Jim Playfair was doing so far, Sutter offered a brief response.

"I think our coaches have done a good job from a tactical point of view," he said.

Having spent the bulk of his time watching Flames prospects in the WHL and the club's AHL affiliate in Omaha, Sutter insisted he hasn't missed being behind the bench at all.

"I really haven't had time to -- there's only been one day in the last 15 I haven't seen a game," said Sutter, who raves about the talent in Omaha where the league's youngest squad is off to an 8-0-1 start.

"It bodes well looking at the kids in Omaha.

"Dustin Boyd (four goals, nine assists) and Andrei Taratukhin (1-5) are absolutely NHL players. Absolutely."

Now, more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world reminding people the B in Junior B has long stood for Brawl:

PARTING GIFTS:

No one is talking about it but to date Atlanta's Kari Lehtonen is the NHL's MVP, going 8-1-3 on a team that has been a goaltender away from respectability for years ... Yes, Craig Conroy has been relegated to second/third-line status in L.A. and will likely be traded by year's end. No, his next stop won't be Calgary ... Now appearing on YouTube.com: A grainy, full-frontal perspective of the green-wigged streaker who stole the show at the Stamps last home game ... While 50-50s have always been popular in Calgary, none of them come close to the $155,000 in carryover cash from unclaimed tickets pooled for the Vancouver Canucks home opener ... Maple Leafs prospect and former Hitmen standout Justin Pogge recorded his first pro win and shutout with 49 saves against Grand Rapids Friday ...Reminder: Female fans are NOT encouraged to wear Chris Pronger Oilers jerseys with beach balls under them as Halloween costumes.


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