This from New Jersey...
BRENT SUTTER NAMED CALGARY FLAMES COACH; LAMORIELLO DISAPPOINTED BUT NOT SURPRISED
Rich Chere, The Star-Ledger, June 23, 2009
Brent Sutter is the new Calgary Flames head coach. The Devils will receive no compensation for letting him out of the final year on his contract.
Lou Lamoriello believes the Devils should receive compensation for letting Brent Sutter out of the final year of his contract to become coach of the Calgary Flames, but that was never a possibility.
So, instead of insisting that Sutter sit out a year while still under contract, Lamoriello decided to move on. He granted Flames GM Darryl Sutter permission to sign Brent with no strings attached.
"You know once you give consent, because of the new rules in the NHL there is no recourse and no compensation," Lamoriello told me Tuesday afternoon. "I certainly believe there should be compensation in situations like this for all the obvious reasons, but there isn't. That's a league rule and you accept it."
Lamoriello doesn't believe Brent Sutter had this type of a defection in mind during last season.
"I don't even think that way," Lamoriello said. "Certainly when Brent left it was for the right reasons in his mind. Only he could judge those reasons with his family and it wasn't something that came overnight. It was something that was lingering through the year.
"Although we were disappointed, we weren't surprised. Then, when I did receive a call from Darryl to speak with Brent, you can go two ways on that.You look at the man and individuals and you look at the situation and do it for the right reasons."
Clearly, Lamoriello is not happy with the series of events. In fact, he is unbdoubtedly shocked because Sutter was though to be his heir apparent in the Devils' front office.
However, he chose not to hold Sutter to his Devils contract.
"It's not something that is good for the game," Lamoriello explained. "You look at the commitments, but in this situation extenuating circumstances prevail. The thought was to allow them to speak. I didn't know what the result would be, but I knew there was a chance."
That chance became reality Tuesday when the Flames introduced Brent Sutter as their new coach.
"There was some personal things that he understood," Sutter said of Lamoriello during the press conference in Calgary.
Some Devils players are trying to make sense of Sutter's decisions.
"Obviously he enjoys coaching and wants to coach," Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador said of Sutter. "I believe he must've had some idea for a while that he wasn't coming back. Then the Calgary opportunity came up.
"I don't think it was a decision made during the season or anything like that. I don't think he decided to quit and then hopefully get a job in Edmonton or Calgary. I think the opportunity just presented itself to him."
So, does Lamoriello feel burned?
"No. I never look at things like that," he said. "I look at the set of circumstances and the decision. I'm not angry. I'm just moving forward. And I wish him the best. I don't hold anything against him in any way."
As for naming Sutter's replacement, Lamoriello said: "We've got to get through this week first."
There will undoubtedly be hard feelings in New Jersey about Sutter's defection.
"I don't know if that's been done anywhere else in the league," Salvador said.
"Players can't walk away from their contract and go somewhere else. Obviously Lou still had his rights. That kind of shows you that it must've been a concern for Brent being away from his family."
Of that, there was never any doubt. Sutter talked of being homesick for two seasons. Few people could blame him for leaving to be home with his family, but taking another NHL job sheds a different light on the situation.
"That's what is surprising," Brian Gionta said. "He was struggling with being away from home and his kids at a crucial time. Obviously that situation coaching back there must work out better for what he was missing.
"It's a little surprising. When he stepped down there was speculation. He has to do what is best for him and his family. If that's it, then I wish him luck. No one is in his shoes. Until you are, you don't know what would happen. It's tough to criticize. You hope it happened for the right reasons."
There will definitely be some added feelings when the Devils and Flames meet on the ice.
"Definitely," Salvador told me. "You always have those rivalries. It's going to be interesting."