If you were to ask a Calgary Flames fan this past week, they would tell you that things are going pretty good right now. After all, their team recently won the Pacific Division title after finishing the 2021-22 regular season with an impressive 50-21-22 record. Despite how well things have been going, however, head coach Darryl Sutter was not a happy man these past few days heading up to playoffs.
Sutter Gets His Wish with Scheduling
After the Flames final regular season game this past Friday against the Winnipeg Jets, Sutter was quite sour when speaking with the media afterward. His bitterness didn’t come as a result of his teams 3-1 loss, but rather the schedule they were forced to play in the final week of the season.
“Hopefully, we get a schedule where we don’t have to play Monday,” Sutter said. “Bull—, this schedule where we play three (times) in four (days) to finish the year on the road. Doesn’t make sense.”
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The stretch Sutter is referring to began on Apr. 26, where his team was tasked with taking on the Nashville Predators. They then had a single night off before ending the season on a back-to-back set with the first game coming against the Minnesota Wild and the second being the Jets. As far as schedules go, it certainly wasn’t an ideal one to end out the season for a Flames roster that has Stanley Cup aspirations. Thankfully for Sutter and co., their series versus the Stars didn’t begin until Tuesday night, meaning they were able to have three days of rest before Game 1.
Late Games Frustrating for Sutter
That wasn’t all that Sutter had to complain about when it came to his team’s playoff schedule, either. Just days after his comment above, he was once again irritated, this time at game times between the Flames and Stars for the majority of the series.
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“I hate them 8:00 games,” Sutter told reporters. “And then 8:30 in Dallas. If you play at 8:00 tomorrow night, you could still be playing at midnight. You could play tomorrow and the next day.”
From one side, you can understand why the league schedules these games the way they do. Both this series as well as the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings series are the late games through the entirety of the first round. The NHL likes to do this to allow the games to be spread out as much as possible so that there is hockey on television throughout the entire night.
With that being said, you can also understand Sutter’s frustration with it. Not only are they late games for the players to try and get up for, but it is also irritating for fans at home who want to watch but also often have to be up early in the morning. While it may not seem like a lot, starting an hour later than normal is far from ideal, and is a situation the league should consider fixing in future years.
Complaints Rare from Sutter
While Sutter is known for his dry humored quotes, it isn’t often he complains like this to the media. Generally, he is a no-excuses type of coach, which makes it surprising he chose to speak up like this. It just goes to show not only how much he cares, but how ridiculous he truly believes the league’s scheduling is.
The good news for Sutter is that, as mentioned previously, his team currently holds a 1-0 series lead over the Stars after their 1-0 victory on Tuesday. They will have a chance to double that series lead on Thursday night at the Saddledome, before preparing to head down south for Games 3 and 4. Perhaps a few more wins will put the likely Jack Adams Award winner in a better mood going forward.