Darryl Sutter is on the phone from Los Angeles, in advance of his big homecoming this weekend, talking about cows. Sutter is a rancher, [...] and on Sunday night, he and brother Brent were discussing their herds and how it’s calving season. Worryingly, there are some calcium deficiencies in the stock. [...]
In all, the much-anticipated Sutter vs. Sutter match-up Saturday will be the 32nd time in his life that Darryl has coached against one of his brothers [...]. Twenty-nine came against Brian, two against Duane. In 1997, [...] it happened under oddly similar circumstances – Darryl coming to Calgary for the first time with a California-based team (the San Jose Sharks), with Brian behind the Flames’ bench.
[...] Sutter never did speak publicly about his departure from Calgary, but on Wednesday, he said the perception that he bore a grudge against the organization was untrue. "Absolutely not," Sutter said. "You know what? I almost feel today exactly as I did when I first went there – that it’s a privilege for a guy, being from Alberta, to coach and manage one of those teams. It’s awesome."
As a family with seven boys, six of whom made it to the NHL, the Sutters have long ago figured out how to separate family matters from the inherent competitive fires that run through them all, according to Darryl. [...] He’ll spend Friday and Saturday at home in Calgary with his wife, Wanda, and son Christopher. On Sunday, his daughter, her husband and his granddaughter will be in attendance in Edmonton, where the Kings play the Oilers.
"We were always like that," Sutter said. "As players, we could see each other the night before, but the day of, we never even looked at each other. Usually, we were captains. It was just too hard, so that was the unwritten rule – stay away from each other on the day of the game. That was always the best way to do it." [...]
Last Tuesday, on the first Kings’ off day in a while, Darryl finally moved into his new place – Murray’s house, as it happens. That happens all the time when players get traded – they swap houses as well – but not as frequently among coaches. His wife and son will come down to Los Angeles during the all-star break, but they are otherwise staying behind in Calgary so Christopher can finish Grade 12.
When it comes to life in the NHL, the road can be long. With many a winding turn. For two Sutter brothers – Darryl and Brent – the road led to Calgary. Darryl as general manager of the Flames, Brent as coach. Things did not end well. Last December, with the Flames on their way to a second straight playoff miss, Darryl “stepped down.” [...] Somewhere along the way, the working relationship between the brothers had become untenable. How untenable? According to the Calgary Sun, the brothers didn’t speak to each other for more than a year after Darryl left — a period of silence that was “prompted by anger, frustration and personality clashes that dotted their working relationship as GM and head coach.”
The good news is that the healing process has begun. On Sunday, the brothers spoke on the phone. “We had a good chit-chat — it was good,” Brent told the Sun. “We talked about their team, about our team … never once did we talk about anything personally. We talked about the kids. We were all over the map with it. That was the first time I talked to him. It was nice.”