You knew that long time veteran head coach Darryl Sutter was going to bring a different kind of attitude when he returned behind the bench of the Calgary Flames, especially with a group of players that has earned a reputation for being too soft in recent years, but he may have taken things to an entirely new level of Saturday.
The Flames are coming off a pretty uninspired loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday and are set to play them again today, a game that will mark 500 career games in the National Hockey League for Flames star forward Johnny Gaudreau. Now 500 games in the NHL is an incredible achievement in and of itself and Gaudreau should be very proud of what he has accomplished in his life, but it is an individual achievement and it would seem that Darryl Sutter is not the least bit impressed by it.
Sutter was asked how he felt about his star forward reaching some a monumental milestone in his career, and instead of being even mildly complementary towards Gaudreau he went completely the other way with his response. Sutter was instead critical of Gaudreau after what he clearly felt was a relatively weak performance on Friday night and as a result, given the context of the question, the comment came off as a rather savage burn on Sutter's part.
"Hopefully he has more energy than his 499th game," said Sutter.
The criticism is especially harsh when you consider the fact that Gaudreau is having a respectable season for the Flames with 13 goals and 12 assists, a combined total of 25 points over his 35 games played this season. At the same time though it is not all that surprising when you consider the fact that no one would ever consider Johnny Gaudreau to be a Darryl Sutter type of player.
Gaudreau has also been the subject of a great deal of trade speculation in recent months as many have anticipated a significant shakeup of the Calgary Flames' roster after a disappointing regular season thus far. The trade has not materialized as of yet, but with comments like these from a head coach and the deadline only a few weeks away it could still become a reality.
Update: Here's the video: