CALGARY -- Though it's an important two points for two franchises that have struggled this season, there's more than just a win on the line tonight when the Calgary Flames host the Carolina Hurricanes.
Family bragging rights are up for grabs.
Son Brandon, a forward for the Hurricanes, will try to get the better of father Brent, who serves as Calgary's coach, as the two Sutters square off at the Scotiabank Saddledome for the only meeting between the two this season.
"They always are," Brandon said. "Hopefully I can find a way to get them this year."
Retain might be a better word. Brandon had an assist in last season's 6-5 shootout win for the Hurricanes. The previous season, though, Brent's Flames beat Brandon's Hurricanes 4-1.
"I think last year we beat him so I'm trying to keep that train rolling," said Brandon, who has 5 goals and 10 points in 28 games this season. "It's a little nicer for the bragging rights, that's for sure."
It's more complicated than just having the right to boast for Brent, who also served as Brandon's coach with the Red Deer Rebels throughout his three-year junior career.
"It's never an easy thing, believe me," Brent said of coaching a son. "It's a lot harder on me then it is him. That's the way it is. Like I told him yesterday, I hope he has a great game, but as long as we finish one goal ahead of him it's a great day for me and a crappy one for him. It's just the way it is when you’re a coach and your son plays in the National Hockey League."
As per Sutter family rules, ice will be thicker than blood -- at least temporarily.
"It's game day," said Brent, who has guided the Flames to an 11-13-2 start this season. "Our makeup is, and our DNA is, that's the way we are. He's focused on trying to help the Carolina Hurricanes as a player and my job is to help the Calgary Flames as a coach. When the game is over, it's over."
If ever there was a household divide, mother/wife Connie provides the ultimate trump card.
"She has an easier time worrying about me than him," Brandon said.
"Guaranteed she's not cheering for her husband," he said.
Which means Brent will have to hear it twice should the Flames fall to Carolina.