Calgary Flames: Initial reactions after first 5 games under Darryl Sutter

Calgary Flames Head Coach Darryl Sutter. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Calgary Flames Head Coach Darryl Sutter. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

What are the early reactions to Darryl Sutter’s first five games as Head Coach of the Calgary Flames?

All eyes are on the new guy when an important position is filled. Even if they’ve been in that role before. Darryl Sutter is back coaching the Calgary Flames and the results are looking promising after the first five games.

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After the Flames beat the North Division leaders Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 on Friday, Sutter’s record has risen to 4-1-0 and he means business. He said in an interview: “I’m not interested in coaching 31 teams. I’m not interested in coaching just to coach. I’m coaching STRICTLY to win a Stanley Cup and that’s it. Nothing else.”

Can you blame him? Darryl Sutter is 62 years-old, a two-time Stanley Cup Winner and a coach who wants to redeem himself for some hard to swallow Playoff losses in his last stint as Flames Head Coach. He was happily living on his ranch in retirement. Sutter would’ve needed a pretty good reason to come back.

Darryl Sutter
Head Coach of the Calgary Flames, Darryl Sutter. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images) /

Early returns are positive between Calgary Flames and Darryl Sutter

Some worried that the old-school coaching style of Sutter wouldn’t sit well with some of the younger players on the team and even now, it is a little too early to see if there are direct correlations between new coaching and performance or lack thereof. Sam Bennett is one of the players expected to thrive under this change of coaching style.

Changes can’t be seen right away, but some playing time has shifted. Not significantly, but if Sutter isn’t seeing what he wants out of certain players, the differences could be much more noticeable. For instance, Flames forward, Andrew Mangiapane had only a few words to say about the coaching change initially, but they paint the picture quite well. Especially when it comes to practices.

At this point, many of the members of the Calgary Flames have been asked about this change, but someone who doesn’t shy away from questions from the media is Milan Lucic. Lucic explained Sutter’s philosophy by saying in an interview of his own, “In the sports world, perfection is almost impossible. But you can demand it to get the most out of everyone.”

If you’ve seen any of the games lately, you may have noticed some little indicators of Darryl Sutter’s connection with his players. During the games, he has been seen going up to individual players and talking to them after a tough shift. He might need to get mic’d up at some point because whatever he is telling them, it is delivering situational results and sometimes almost immediately.

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The fans seem to be taking to this change quite well too. It is very frustrating to see a team with this much potential throw away games due to a lack of consistency in the last couple of months and arguably, the last couple of seasons. Darryl Sutter seems to be in a place right now to prevent things from getting out of hand. With a 56-game season that is already halfway through, the Calgary Flames need a coach like Sutter to make a push for the last North Division Playoff spot or better.