CALGARY, AB -- On Saturday night, the Calgary Flames welcome the Los Angeles Kings into the Scotiabank Saddledome in what will likely be a heated battle between two teams jostling for a playoff spot.
However, the subplot to the Western Conference clash seems have taken center stage.
Former Flames coach and general manager Darryl Sutter will return to Calgary for the first time since he resigned in December of 2010. The Viking, AB native recently took over the coaching duties for the Kings and while the media may be clamoring for the "Sutter Returns" story, the man himself is focused on the game rather than the hype surrounding it.
"I have no feelings one way or another about it," Sutter told LosAngelesKings.com. "(Working in Calgary) was a great experience. I worked with great people and I got lots of friends. That’s what it’s about at the end of the day."
Sutter arrived in Calgary on Dec. 28, 2002, looking to turn the struggling club around. While the team didn't make it to the postseason that year, the Flames went all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals the next season - a testament to his prowess as a coach as the Flames roster didn't dramatically change between those seasons.
In addition to his coaching duties, he took on the role of general manager on Apr. 11, 2003. He performed both roles until the end of the 2005-06 campaign before handing over the coaching reins to Jim Playfair so he could act solely as the general manager. Overall, the Flames went 107-73-26 with Sutter behind the bench.
In the later years of his tenure as Calgary's general manager, the team began to struggle. In 2009-10, the Flames missed the playoffs for the first time since their storied Cup run. They followed that disappointment up with a 16-18-3 start in 2010-11 and Sutter resigned on Dec. 28, 2010.
Sutter told LosAngelesKings.com that he doesn't have any hard feelings about the way his stint in Calgary ended whatsoever.
"There’s nothing bad about it, nothing bad to think about," Sutter said. "It was awesome. It was a good experience because we had a good team. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. That’s how everybody measures, in wins and losses. It’s simple. That’s a fact.
"It’s like when I talk about Terry (Murray) and the respect I have for him. That’s what it’s about, is wins and losses. It doesn’t matter if you’re a general manger or a coach. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters."