To the best of my knowledge, any pursuit of Brent Sutter for a role in the Islanders organization did not go very far and ended quickly. Brent pretty much said the same thing to reporters this weekend.
It goes back to the day in January, 2006 when Steve Stirling was let go as coach and Mike Milbury announced he was stepping down as GM until a successor was named. We had a press conference that morning with Charles Wang taking the leading role. In a major coincidence, the Islanders had a game that night with Darryl Sutter's Calgary Flames, whose morning skate at the Coliseum ended around the same time as our press conference.
A few enterprising NY reporters had the idea to ask Darryl, one of Brent's older brothers, what were the chances of Brent being interested in coming back to Long Island. Darryl, boasting the same charm as a few of his siblings, replied, "I'd have to say none."
The Calgary GM/coach went on to say Brent's loyalties were only to Bill Torrey and Al Arbour (comments Brent reiterated in a New Jersey newspaper story on Saturday). I have as much respect for Brent as any player who's ever worn an Islanders uniform. I appreciate how much Bill and Al mean to him. My only wish for Brent is should he be asked again about his ties to Long Island, he might want to consider mentioning the ten of thousands of fans that supported him for the decade he wore the crest.
(Hey, it's no biggie. He's not the only person in our game who is so focused they forget the people spending their hard-earned money and make the National Hockey League, you know, possible).
Despite whatever may or may not have happened, the cool thing is everyone is where they should be. Brent and Lou Lamoriello appear to be simpatico and Ted Nolan has been a godsend for this franchise.
Last night's game was pretty great. Even for a guy who keeps things close to the vest like Brent Sutter, you'd have to believe a few memories flashed by when the Islanders and Devils were in overtime and every fan was out of their seat.
A FINAL WORD ON TORRE: Yankees brass wanted Joe Torre out, in part, because it drove them crazy how much credit the manager got. Now, by not fielding the ball cleanly, they've made him the biggest icon in New York since Rudy Giuliani.